India added a record number of coronavirus cases yesterday, as the world’s fourth worst-hit nation opened a huge treatment centre with 10,000 beds in New Delhi to fight the epidemic.
The Health Ministry reported just under 25,000 cases and 613 deaths in 24 hours - the biggest daily spike since the first case was detected in late January.
The surge took India’s total tally to more than 673,000 cases and 19,268 deaths.
It came as the capital New Delhi started treating patients at a spiritual centre converted into a sprawling isolation facility and hospital with 10,000 beds, many made of cardboard and chemically coated to make them waterproof.
About the size of 20 football fields, the facility on the outskirts of the national capital will treat mild symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.
State government officials fear Delhi, home to 25mn people, could record more than half-a-million cases by the end of the month.
The city has repurposed some hotels to provide hospital care.
It is also converting wedding halls and has several hundred modified railway coaches standing by.
A strict lockdown in place since late March has gradually been lifted, allowing most activities as the economy nose-dived amid the shutdown.
But the number of cases across the vast nation of has climbed steeply and is now close to surpassing badly-hit Russia.
Schools, metro trains in cities, cinemas, gyms and swimming pools remain closed and international flights are still grounded.
Authorities have made wearing masks mandatory in public places, while large gatherings are banned and shops and other public establishments are required to implement social distancing.
Maharashtra, the worst-hit state and home to financial hub Mumbai, recorded over 7,000 new cases while Tamil Nadu and Delhi recorded more than 4,200 and 2,500 fresh cases respectively.
Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai are the worst-affected cities.
Other states also recorded more infections and deaths.
One person died and 225 fresh cases were reported in Kerala. With this the state’s Covid-19 toll is 25.
State Health Minister K K Shailaja said there were 2,228 positive patients while 3,174 people had been cured of the disease. The number of cases includes 117 who came from abroad and 57 from within the country,” the minister said.
Andhra Pradesh reported the highest one-day tally of 998 positive cases and 14 more deaths yesterday.
Tamil Nadu saw 4,150 people testing positive for coronavirus. The number of Covid-19 patients who died over the past 2 -hours was 60 taking the toll to 1,510.
On the positive side, 2,186 Covid-19 patients were cured and discharged from various hospitals in the state. The total number of Covid-19 cured persons in the state goes up to 62,778.
Meanwhile, amid a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Goa, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant yesterday urged people to stop visiting friends and neighbours and avoid unnecessary social interaction.
“We are used to visiting people’s homes. Even in such times, people are being invited for birthdays, other functions. This has to stop for some time,” Sawant told reporters.
“Stop visiting each other’s homes, even neighbours. We should not attend functions. We should not also call people home. You never know when asymptomatic persons can spread the virus,” Sawant said, adding that vulnerable senior citizens often faced the brunt of the careless and unnecessary social interaction.
Asked whether his appeal was in contrast to the state government’s decision to restart the tourism industry, Sawant said tourists were allowed into the state after following due protocol and testing.
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