Covid-19 cases top 1,000 as India says no plans to extend lockdown

30.03.2020

The overall number of Covid-19 cases in India crossed the 1,000 mark on Monday, even as the government said there were no plans to prolong the three-week nationwide lockdown.

The total number of positive cases climbed to 1,071, with 92 new cases, according to the federal Health Ministry. Of these, 29 had died while 99 had been cured.

There has been a steady increase in Covid-19 cases since 20 March, with 179 cases being reported on Saturday alone, the highest single-day increase so far.

Top officials said there were no plans to extend stay-at-home orders past 14 April, following reports that the government was debating extending the lockdown because it is alarmed of the infection risk posed by the mass exodus of migrants trying to reach home.

"There are rumours and media reports, claiming that the government will extend the lockdown when it expires. The cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba has denied these reports and state that they are baseless," the government's press bureau wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday apologised for the hardship faced by the poor as thousands of migrant workers continued to return to their home towns and villages, desperate for food and shelter. The large-scale movement and their crowding at border check posts and bus stations across the country endangered India's efforts to contain an escalation of the transmission of the virus through social distancing.

Media reports said the government will make an assessment in the coming week and identify and isolate areas reporting high number of infections, to ensure there is a coordinated approach to deal with the highly infectious disease.    (dpa)

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