COVID-19 cases in India rise to 283
NEW DELHI, Mar 21
The novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 283 on Saturday, according to Health Ministry data.
Of them, 39 are foreign nationals and Maharashtra is worst hit with 63 confirmed cases. Kerala has the second highest number of cases at 40.
"As of today, we are contact-tracing over 7,000 persons and we will let people know if we find cases of community transmission," said the Ministry.
"People should not go for coronavirus test out of fashion or for confidence- building, it should be done as per protocol,' the Ministry further said.
The Chhattisgarh Government ordered closure of all its offices, except those providing essential and emergency services, till March 31.
In Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced a "near total" shutdown in five districts and eight other prominent towns for a week from Sunday morning.
These districts and towns were identified as over 3,000 residents have returned to these places from abroad in the past few days.
The Goa Government imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) across the State to prohibit large gatherings.
Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the State Government has also issued an order banning inter-State transport, except for the supply of essential commodities, from Saturday night onwards.
Goa shares borders with Maharashtra and Karnataka, where several people have tested positive for coronavirus infection.
Private events, including weddings, have also been banned in Goa till further orders.
The State Election Commission of Arunachal Pradesh announced that municipal and panchayat elections slated to be held in April-May have been temporarily put on hold.
The Nashik administration in Maharashtra banned the sale of liquor from Saturday till further orders in the district invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management Act.
The order to close bars, including those located in five star hotels and resorts, and liquor shops was issued by Collector Suraj Mandhare.
The Akola district administration ordered a lockdown between March 22 and 24 during which all establishments except those selling essential items will remain closed.
The move is similar to the sectoral shutdown put in place in Maharashtra's major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Nagpur.
In West Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee government ordered all restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, amusement parks, museums and zoos to remain shut till March 31.
The order, which aims to prevent all non-essential social gatherings, comes into effect on Sunday morning. The directive also applies to massage parlours and hookah bars, an official said, adding that strict action would be taken in case of any violation.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration said all its employees with foreign travel history along with their relatives would have to go for quarantine before resuming their duties.
Amid increasing cases of people affected by coronavirus, a couple was deboarded from a Delhi-bound Rajdhani train after co-passengers noticed a home quarantine seal on the husband's hand. The Railways urged people to avoid non-essential travel for the safety of fellow citizens. At a press conference, the health ministry said it carried out training for critical care management at 1,000 places through video conference and will conduct nationwide mock drill on Sunday for emergency response to handle coronavirus cases cases.
Health ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said guidelines for coronavirus tests have been revised, directing that asymptomatic direct, high-risk contacts of confirmed cases should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in contact with an infected person.
The government is likely to issue guidelines for private labs for the test later on Saturday, he said, adding that people should not go for coronavirus tests "out of fashion" or as a confidence-building exercise. Protocols are in place and that will be followed, he said.
He asserted that the government is working to ramp up production of masks and sanitisers with states asked to allow deodorant manufacturers to produce sanitisers, adding there is no shortage of these items and people should not indulge in panic-buying. Agencies