NEW DELHI: India became the world’s 17th country to record 20,000 Covid-19 cases, crossing the grim milestone on a day when Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal recorded their biggest single-day rise in infections. There was a spike in deaths as well, with 49 on Tuesday, taking the toll to 645. The total number of cases stood at 20,083 late on Tuesday, as per reports from states, having risen by 1,493 during the day — the second-highest daily rise after Sunday’s spike of 1,613 cases.
However, according to the health ministry figures there were 19,984 total cases in the country on Wednesday morning with 640 deaths.
Here are the latest updates on the outbreak of coronavirus from India and around the world —
India readying rapid response teams for Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan
A 14-member rapid response team was sent to Maldives last month to help the island nation set up coronavirus testing laboratories and train local medical professionals to fight the pandemic. India has assured all friendly neighbouring countries of all possible assistance to help them fight the pandemic.
Lockdown reveals fresh air, cleaner rivers in India
India’s extended lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak has shut down schools, workplaces, industries, transport, and forced people to stay home.
It also led to an unexpected bonus in the country with six out of 10 of the world’s most polluted cities: cleaner air.
On March 25, the first day of the lockdown, the average PM 2.5 levels decreased by 22% and nitrogen dioxide — which comes from burning fossil fuels — dropped by 15%
West Bengal says it will abide by Centre’s orders on lockdown
The West Bengal government has said “it is not a fact” that there was no cooperation with the Central team deputed to assess the COVID-19 situation in the state and gave an assurance that it will abide by all Union government orders on lockdown.
The assurance came hours after the Centre accused the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government of obstructing a Central team deputed to assess the coronavirus ground situation.
Potential Covid-19 vaccine developed at Oxford to be tested on people this week
A potential vaccine against the coronavirus developed by the University of Oxford is set to be trialled on people for the first time on April 23, UK secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock said on Tuesday. “I can announce that the vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled in people from this Thursday. In normal times, reaching this stage would take years and I am very proud of the work taken so far,” Hancock said.
Testing rate dropped from 35,000 to 27,500 due to China kit fiasco
With states complaining that the recently acquired rapid testing kits were delivering misleading and inaccurate results, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday advised all states to stop using the antibody test for Covid-19 for two days until its teams investigated the functioning of the kits.
The kits had arrived last week after delays and have been sourced from three firms based in China. India’s testing rate has dropped from 35,000-odd on Monday to 27,500 on Tuesday following the fiasco.
US will have second wave of coronavirus: CDC chief
A second wave of the novel coronavirus will hit the US later this year with even more difficult ramifications than the current Covid-19 crisis that has claimed more than 45,000 lives and infected over 824,000 people in the country, a top American health official has warned.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield told The Washington Post that the US will have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.
69% of cases found positive were asymptomatic: ICMR
Covid-19 tests that delivered positive results in India so far show 69% positive cases were asymptomatic, whereas 31% are symptomatic representing a ratio of 1:2, the ICMR said on Tuesday. So far, over four lakh samples have been tested for Covid-19 in India and of these 18,601 were positive.
Noida ‘shuts’ Delhi border, no passage without passes
The Noida administration on Tuesday night virtually sealed the city’s borders with Delhi by announcing a bar on all traffic to and from the national capital, keeping the door ajar for only those engaged in essential services but with a stricter protocol.
Coronavirus epidemic could peak in India by mid-May: Study
The coronavirus epidemic could peak in India by the middle of May and gradually peter out after that, a modelling exercise by Times Network in partnership with global consulting firm Protiviti, has predicted. The ‘Times Fact India Outbreak Report’ looks at three different possibilities and suggests that India could see the number of coronavirus cases crossing 75,000 around May 22.
WHO warns worst is yet to come, ICMR says India is doing its best
The ICMR on Tuesday said India was doing the best possible as per its capabilities to combat the Covid-19 outbreak and that one must have faith in science which was making fast advances towards developing a vaccine and therapeutic interventions. The comments came in the wake of WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus alluding to the Spanish flu in 1918 as a reference for the coronavirus outbreak and saying the worst was to come in the coronavirus outbreak, raising new alarm bells about the pandemic just as many countries are beginning to ease restrictive measures.
US coronavirus deaths top 45,000, doubling in little over a week
The US coronavirus deaths topped 45,000 on Tuesday doubling in a little over a week and rising by a near-record amount in a single day. The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases at over 810,000, almost four times as many as Spain, the country with the second-highest number.

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