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COVID-19: Over 380 new cases across India on Friday

Home Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the tally had not risen sharply otherwise due to the lockdown and the government’s efforts to promote social distancing

New Delhi: Ramping up their efforts to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, authorities on Friday announced exclusive isolation wards and initiated rapid tests in areas identified as hotspots of the deadly virus infection while a record of more than 8,000 samples were tested in 24 hours.

While more than 380 new confirmed cases were announced by various States during the day, taking the nationwide tally to close to 2,900 with at least 82 deaths, the Union Home Ministry officials said the rise in the numbers in last few days had mostly been due to one event — referring to the Tablighi Jamaat’s religious gathering in the national capital attended by thousands of people last month.

Home Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the tally had not risen sharply otherwise due to the lockdown and the government’s efforts to promote social distancing. According to the Ministry, at least 647 cases reported in last two days are linked to the Jamaat congregation.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also said there was no need to panic as the situation was under control and that the community spread of the virus was not taking place in the national capital. Delhi’s tally of confirmed cases had risen to 384, after 91 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, while five died in the city.

Only Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have higher tallies at 429 and 411, respectively. These three States were also among those reporting new cases, while fresh deaths were reported from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh among others. At least 207 people recovered across the country so far, as per updates from various States. In its evening update, the Union Home Ministry put the nationwide tally of confirmed cases at 2,547 and 62 deaths.

The World Bank, in the meantime, announced an emergency funding of $1 billion for India to help it tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Support appeared pouring in from several other quarters as well, with more than 31,000 doctors, including retired government and Armed Forces Medical Services, and private physicians volunteering to help the government fight against Covid-19 pandemic, a senior government official said.

An ICMR official separately said 182 labs across country were functional now for Covid-19 diagnosis, out of which 130 are government labs. Around 8,000 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, he added.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in an advisory, has also recommended use of a rapid antibody test in the country’s coronavirus hotspots.

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