India has reported 33,050 coronavirus cases till this morning, according to government data. A total of 1,718 new cases and 67 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, the Home Ministry’s data on its website shows. The highly infectious COVID-19 has killed 1,074 in India till date; 8,325 have recovered. All eyes are on what the government decides about the lockdown. New guidelines to fight COVID-19 which will give considerable relaxations to many districts will come into effect from May 4 when the nationwide lockdown is set to expire, the Home Ministry said on Wednesday.
Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:
- With the COVID-19 tally rising further, the lockdown could continue beyond May 3 at least in some form in some parts of the country, becoming “a new normal”, official sources said.
- The number of districts designated COVID-19 hotspots or “Red Zones” has come down to 129 from 170 a fortnight ago, but in the same period the number of infection-free districts or “Green Zones” too decreased from 325 to 307, news agency PTI reported, quoting official sources, on Wednesday.
- During this time, the number of non-hotspot districts, also known as “Orange Zones”, increased from 207 to 297.
- According to sources, the final decision on relaxing lockdown measures will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Migrant labourers, students, pilgrims or tourists who do not have symptoms of coronavirus can return to their home states now, the centre has said.
- The centre had assured that migrant labourers will be looked after by the states where they were located. But the situation on the ground indicated otherwise, with reports of hunger coming in from various corners of the country.
- Sources said the decision to allow stranded people to go home came after pressure from within the BJP. There were concerns that the migrant crisis could damage the party politically and feedback to this effect was given to party chief JP Nadda during a virtual meeting with MPs and MLAs.
- Meanwhile, US scientists on Wednesday hailed a potential breakthrough in the coronavirus fight as a trial showed patients responding to the antiviral drug remdesivir, fuelling global hopes for a return to normal despite mounting deaths and abysmal economic news.
- In the first proof of successful treatment against the illness that has claimed more than 226,000 lives, a clinical trial of remdesivir showed that patients recovered about 30 per cent faster than those on a placebo.
- Remdesivir failed in trials against the Ebola virus and a smaller study, released last week by the World Health Organisation, found limited effects among patients in Wuhan, China, where the illness was first detected last year.