There has been no solid evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in India as yet and the infection appears to be relatively stabilising considering the rate at which it is increasing, the health ministry said on Thursday.
"While the numbers of COVID-19 cases are increasing, there appears to be relatively a stable trend or even little bit reduction in the rate at which they are increasing," said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Ministry of Health.
"This, however, does not establish a clear trend and in no way are we relaxed about anything at this point."
Agarwal said the ministry is hopeful of containing the spread of coronavirus by social distancing, conducting a proper contact tracing of positive cases and by ensuring that all people at home quarantine are monitored.
The total number of coronavirus cases in India has climbed to 724 today. More than 85 cases were reported from the various parts of the country on Thursday — highest official single-day count so far. Out of the total patients, 677 are Indians and 47 are foreign nationals.
COVID-19 claimed its first life in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, taking the total toll in the country 17. On Thursday, India has recorded highest number of deaths in a single day. Deaths have been reported from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Karnataka, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh.
At present, there are 640 active coronavirus patients in the country. A total 67 patients have been cured or discharged so far, according to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
With 19 fresh cases recorded on Thursday, the total number of COVID-19 patients in Kerala has surged to 137. The state has now highest coronavirus cases in India. Maharashtra comes close second with 130 active cases reported so far.
A total of 43 people tested positive in Gujarat. The state witnessed two deaths in last 24 hours. Telangana has 45 COVID-19 cases in the state. Karnataka on Thursday reported second COVID-19 death and four more positive cases, taking the total number of cases in the state to 55.
Adding a note of caution, Agarwal said the community transmission phase of the disease will begin if the community and the Adding a note of caution, Agarwal said the community transmission phase of the disease will begin if the community and the government do not work collectively and follow the set guidelines of social distancing, home quarantine and treatment.
He urged people to support the lockdown announced by the prime minister saying social distancing can be an effective intervention to break the chain of transmission and all the efforts will go into waste even if one person does not follow the policy for containment of the disease. "Continued people's support for implementation of lockdown is needed," he said.
Agarwal said 17 states have started work on earmarking hospitals for dedicated treatment of COVID-19 patients.
More than 500,000 people around the world have now contracted the new coronavirus. Over 83,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the US, higher than China, Italy or any other country has seen . The US has recorded 1,178 deaths, while the global death toll stood at 23,293.
Starting from Tuesday midnight, India is under 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of novel coronavirus. Only the essential services l