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Have cut transmission, minimised spread, increased COVID-19 doubling time during lockdown: Govt

The government said on Thursday that it has been able to "cut coronavirus transmission", minimise its spread and increase the doubling time of COVID-19 cases in the country during the 30-day period of the nationwide lockdown.

While asserting that the growth of coronavirus cases in the country has been more or less linear and not exponential, it also said testing has been ramped up consistently.

Addressing a daily press conference on the COVID-19 situation in the country, C K Mishra, the chairman of Empowered Group Two, said, "One crucial weapon we employed during the 30-day lockdown period is RT-PCR test to ascertain if one has contracted the disease or not."

As on March 23, nearly 15,000 tests were done across the country and by April 22 more than 5 lakh tests were conducted, which is about "33 times in 30 days", he said, adding, "But we are conscious of the fact that this is not enough and we have to continuously ramp up testing in the country and we will do that."

Of the empowered groups formed to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce misery of people once the lockdown is lifted, Mishra is the chairman of Empowered Group Two tasked with coordinating availability of hospitals, isolation and quarantine facilities, disease surveillance, testing and critical care training.

"The growth of COVID-19 cases has been more or less linear, not exponential; this indicates that the strategies we adopted have succeeded in containing the infection to a particular level. Post imposition of lockdown, while the number of new positive cases has increased by 16 times, testing increased by 24 times," Mishra said in his presentation.

"During the 30 days of lockdown, we have been able to cut transmission, minimize spread and increase the doubling days of COVID-19. We have been able to consistently ramp up our testing and utilise our time preparing for the future in case the virus spreads further," he said.

Mishra also said that in the last month, the number of dedicated hospitals for treating coronavirus patients has been increased 3.5 times and the number of isolation beds rose by 3.6 times.

"Despite a 24-fold increase in testing, percentage of positive cases is not rising. The percentage of positive cases as a ratio of testing is more or less the same as that a month ago," he said.

Mishra also claimed that India has done better than a majority of developed countries with respect to the percentage of test cases yielding positive results.

"We need to evolve our strategy based on the current position... We seem to be doing well so far with our strategy which is intensely focused on areas where we see a lot of positivity and action happening. Our testing strategy has been focused, targeted and continues to expand," he said.

Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said no new COVID-19 cases of the pandemic has been reported from 78 districts in the last 14 days.

He also said, "4,257 COVID-19 patients, which is 19.89 per cent of those infected have been cured so far. In the last 24 hours, 1,409 cases were reported, taking the total number of positive cases to 21,393.

प्रधान मंत्री गरीब कल्याण योजना के तहत 33 करोड़ से अधिक गरीबों को मिली 31,235 करोड़ रुपये की वित्तीय सहायता

प्रधान मंत्री गरीब कल्याण योजना के तहत 33 करोड़ से अधिक गरीबों को सीधे 31 हजार 235 करोड़ रुपये की वित्तीय सहायता दी गई है। पैकेज की घोषणा वित्त मंत्री निर्मला सीतारमण ने 26 मार्च को COVID -19 के कारण गरीबों को तालाबंदी के प्रभाव से बचाने के लिए की थी। पैकेज के हिस्से के रूप में, सरकार ने महिलाओं और गरीब वरिष्ठ नागरिकों और किसानों को मुफ्त अनाज और नकद भुगतान की घोषणा की।

20.05 करोड़ महिला जन धन खाता धारकों को 10 हजार करोड़ रुपये से ज्यादा का संवितरित किया गया है। कुल 1,405 करोड़ रुपये लगभग 2.82 करोड़ वृद्धों, विधवाओं और विकलांग व्यक्तियों को वितरित किए गए हैं। PM-KISAN की पहली किस्त के तहत, 16,146 करोड़ रुपये की राशि आठ करोड़ किसानों को हस्तांतरित की गई है।

कर्मचारियों के भविष्य निधि योगदान के रूप में लगभग 162 करोड़ रुपये का हस्तांतरण किया गया है, जिससे 10.6 लाख कर्मचारियों को लाभ हुआ है। कुल 2.17 करोड़ भवन और निर्माण श्रमिकों को 3,497 करोड़ रुपये की वित्तीय सहायता मिली है।

प्रधानमंत्री गरीब कल्याण योजना के तहत 39.27 करोड़ लाभार्थियों को खाद्यान्न का मुफ्त राशन वितरित किया गया है। सभी में, 2.66 करोड़ मुफ्त उज्ज्वला सिलेंडर प्रधानमंत्री उज्ज्वला योजना के तहत वितरित किए गए हैं।

Stones thrown during CAA protest in Delhi's Maujpur; police fire tear gas shells
Photo: ANI
On Sunday there was an event of stone pelting between two groups within the the Maujpur area of Delhi. The altercation is believed to be between two civilian groups, one supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act and one against it. Reportedly, some people are injured by the stones. Police fired tear gas shells as members of the 2 groups pelted stones at one another in Maujpur. The entry and exit gates of Maujpur-Babarpur metro station are closed. Further details awaited.

An anti-CAA protest by around 500 people, mostly women, near the Jaffrabad metro station in northeast Delhi continued on Sunday, prompting the Delhi Metro authorities to shut the entry and exit gates of the station. The protest began on Saturday night, blocking a road which connects Seelampur with Maujpur and Yamuna Vihar. The women, carrying the tricolour and raising slogans of 'aazadi', said they might not move from the location till the Centre revokes the CAA.

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