Total cases at 20,471

NEW DELHI, Apr 22 : The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India shot past 20,000 today. At least 1,486 fresh cases emerged in the last 24 hours, taking the Covid-19 count in the country to 20,471, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data. With 49 deaths recorded since yesterday, the toll now stands at 652,  it said.
So far, India has 15,589 active cases. There are also 77 foreign Nationals who are affected by the virus, the Ministry said.
Apart from that, there are at least 3,959 patients who have been discharged or cured from the highly contagious disease and one has migrated from the country.
Speaking at the Cabinet briefing today, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that Cabinet has approved the promulgation of Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The move comes after several complaints from the medical fraternity on the acts of violence against doctors and other medical staff.
"The Central Government has brought an ordinance to end violence against health workers. It carries imprisonment from 6 months to 7 years if anyone is found guilty," Javadekar said adding that attacks on doctors and health professionals will not be tolerated.
He added that investigation against such violence will be done within 30 days and the accused can be sentenced from 3 months-5 years and penalised from Rs 50,000 up to Rs 2 lakh.
Later, according to ANI, a spokesperson said that the Home Ministry has issued orders to States against violence and urged States to ensure adequate security to healthcare professionals, medical staff and frontline workers to prevent violence against them.
"Strict action to be taken against those who obstruct the performance of last rites of Covid Warriors succumbing to the disease," said the spokesperson.
Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar on Tuesday said that 4,49,810 tests for COVID-19 have been conducted so far in India. Out of these, 35,852 samples were tested on Monday.
Meanwhile, crossing the 5,000-mark in registering coronavirus cases, Maharashtra remained the worst hit State. The total number of cases in the State surged to 5,221 with 251 deaths. The highest number of cases were reported from Mumbai with more than 3,000 positive Covid-19 patients
Maharashtra was followed by Gujarat, which has crossed 2,000-mark with 2,272 cases and 95 deaths, according to the latest data. Delhi comes right after Gujarat with 2,156 positive patients and 47 deaths.
Apart from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi, the other most-affected States according to the deaths recorded are Madhya Pradesh (80), Telangana (23), Andhra Pradesh (24), Uttar Pradesh (21), Punjab (16), Karnataka (17), Tamil Nadu (18), Rajasthan (25), West Bengal (15), Jammu and Kashmir (5), Kerala (3), Jharkhand (3), Haryana (3) and Bihar (2). Meghalaya, Odisha, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and have reported one death each.
Globally, the novel coronavirus infections surpassed 2.5 million while the death toll has gone above 177,000, according to latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. In US, coronavirus deaths topped 45,000 while the total number of cases went past 820,000.