On Saturday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in India surged to 258 even as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is gearing up to combat the virus with a new testing strategy.
22 new cases were reported in the country on 21 March, taking the total number of infected cases to over 250. So far, 4 deaths have been registered where all deceased were above the age of 60-- one each in Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, and Maharashtra.
Himachal Pradesh, with two cases and Madhya Pradesh with four cases, are the newest entrants to the list of affected places. COVID-19 infections in India have spread to 22 states and Union Territories.
On Friday, India witnessed the highest increase in the number of Covid-19 cases on a single day, with a total of 63 cases being confirmed within 24 hours by the health ministry.
As per data released by the health ministry, Kerala reported the highest increase in new cases in a single day on Saturday with a total of 12 cases-- 7 Indians and 5 foreign nationals.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Randeep Guleria, who chairs the ICMR expert committee on testing criteria of Covid-19, said: “With the numbers rising, we have changed the case definition of people being tested to include asymptomatic contacts of positive treating Covid-19 and SARI cases. Now all pneumonia patients must also be notified to NCDC or IDSP so that they can be tested for Covid-19 for community transmission surveillance.”
ICMR has so far tested 15,404 samples from across the country and this number is likely to go up.
PM Modi asserted the importance of social distancing and self-isolation in his national address on Thursday. He has urged citizens across the country to practice 'Janata curfew' on 22 March from 7 am to 9 pm. Wuhan, which is the epicenter of the virus that has killed over 10,000 worldwide, is said to have flattened the curve by strict self-isolation.