Pitching for efforts on a war footing to identify and isolate COVID-19 hotspots, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hinted at a "staggered" exit from the ongoing lockdown after the 21-day period ends on April 14.

In its latest update, the Union Home Ministry put the consolidated nationwide tally at 53 deaths and 2,069 confirmed cases of infection, including 55 foreign nationals.Worldwide, the number of Covid-19 cases has crossed 966,702, and around 49,290 have died


In the total tally, about 400 COVID-19 positive cases have been found whose epidemiological linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster in Delhi's Nizamuddin area, said the Union Health Ministry, which asserted there was no evidence to widespread community transmission and 20 existing and 22 potential hotspots ha ..

The centre and states must have a common plan to make sure that there is staggered movement of people even after the national lockdown ends, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday at a video-conference with Chief Ministers on coronavirus.


"It is important to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once the lockdown ends," PM Modi emphasised, according to a statement giving details of the interaction. He asked states to send their suggestions for such an exit strategy.


The PM also said it "can't be business as usual" after the lockdown and certain safeguards would have to be taken, according to the statement. States must enforce the lockdown "seriously", he said, urging them to stick to social distancing.


Modi will share a video message with people on Friday morning. Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the prime minister has urged states to manage the coronavirus crisis at the district level.


In the meantime, sporadic attacks on doctors, social workers and police personnel also came to the fore raising concerns over their safety and prompting warnings by authorities.

States were asked to "work on war footing, identify virus hotspots and encircle them" to contain the infection. The focus for the next few weeks must be testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine, the Prime Minister told states.


The goal, he said, was to ensure minimum loss of life, and observed that the global situation was "far from satisfactory" with speculation of a second wave in some countries.


Nine chief ministers participated in the meeting, which was conducted by Home Minister Amit Shah. PM Modi, Mr Shah and other ministers sat far apart from one another inside a large hall.


According to some chief ministers, there was no response to their request for more funds to fight the virus.


Meanwhile, the ministry of electronics and IT launched a mobile app on Thursday called AarogyaSetu which will help people in identifying the risk of getting affected by the CoronaVirus.


Once installed in a smart phone, the app detects other nearby devices with AarogyaSetu installed. The app can then calculate the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters if any of these contacts is tested positive.


The app is available in 11 languages and has been launched on both Andriod and ioS.


"The App will help the Government take necessary timely steps for assessing risk of spread of COVID-19 infection, and ensuring isolation where required," it said.


The app built through public private partnership "assesses themselves the risk for their catching the Corona Virus infection. It will calculate this based on their interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence," an official statement said.