1,071 coronavirus cases in India, schools extend holidays until mid-June and global death toll tops 34,000-Health News, Firstpost

At last count, India had 1,071 infections and 29 deaths. Around 99 people have also been declared cured.

More than 723,000 global cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed so far. Of these, nearly 34,000 people lost their lives. A marked change in tone can now be heard in announcements from top executives; US President Donald Trump has extended social distancing measures until the end of April, and a senior UK health official has said current restrictions could last until the fall. The two countries had, until very recently, tried to put on a good face to limit the economic damage as much as possible. It seems that projections suggesting that more than a million Americans could die if strict public health interventions are not implemented constrained the latest development.

Representative image. PTI

Italy and Spain continued to see meteoric rises in fatalities, with the former topping 10,000 deaths after recording a jump of more than 700 in the past 24 hours. Unfortunately, Italian Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri, who himself tested positive for the new coronavirus 2 weeks ago, said the peak had still not been reached and those responsible for the health were expecting a further surge this week.

The situation in India

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the official pandemic control body, has maintained that stage 3, i.e. community transmission, has still not been reached in the country. At last count, India had 1,071 infections and 29 deaths. Around 99 people have also been declared cured. There has been a steady trickle of cases with no overseas travel or link to overseas travel involved, raising fears of a stronger outbreak. The ongoing migration crisis, as well as cases in the slums, amplify these fears. On a more positive note, out of 202 positive tests in Kerala, only 4 required intensive care, with the vast majority registering milder cases.

An analysis of the first 19 deaths showed that 14 were over the age of 60 and 12 had pre-existing conditions such as hypertension and diabetes (the numbers are not mutually exclusive), suggesting the trend here is consistent with the situation world.

Experts maintain that testing remains excessively low – at last count just under 35,000 tests have been carried out. It remains to be seen how much testing can be intensified since the introduction of private players. According to Indian Express, the country is equipped with 25,743 intensive care beds. If an epidemic occurs, this will be significantly below the needs.

The government remained firm in implementing the lockdown; state officials were told to double state borders to prevent the movement of traffic. States try to persuade migrants to stay put; migrants retaliate by saying they simply don’t have the money or the food to stay.

As a precaution, some schools in Delhi, including the British School, have extended the holidays to the second week of June. The Department of Human Resource Development has asked the states and different councils to revise the academic calendar. On this basis, new sessions could start after the summer holidays instead of in April, as is customary.

Global developments

The South Korean government said it would provide financial assistance to the poorest 70% of the population (in terms of income), covering around 14 million people. Aid will vary, with families with more than 4 members receiving $817.

New York State, which is the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, now has more than 1,000 dead. Health officials have appealed for PPE (personal protective equipment), ventilators and assistance, warning that hospitals will soon reach capacity.

China continues to report fewer cases, with most new infections attributed to imported cases. Air travel has gradually resumed in Hubei, the province where it all started, but restrictions are still in place in the city of Wuhan.

For more tips, read our article on How the coronavirus spreads.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and largest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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