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Italy Coronavirus: 153,222 Cases and 18,279 Deaths

The death toll on Saturday was 681, bringing the total to 15,362 fatalities since the pandemic first broke out in northern Italy on Feb. 21.

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Rome, April 10 : Italy’s COVID-19 death toll rose by 610 in the last 24 hours to 18,279, the highest in the world, even as pressure on the country’s hospitals continued to ease with a fall in the number of patients in intensive care units, the Civil Protection Agency said.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte held a teleconference with business and labour leaders to discuss when Italy can begin to relax the restrictions imposed to contain the disease, Efe news reported.

The shutdown was initially meant to last until April 13, but chances that any significant easing would take place was deemed as virtually non-existent.

“We need to pick sectors that can restart their activity. If scientists confirm it, we might begin to relax some measures already by the end of this month,” Conte told the BBC.

The final decision on when and how to re-open the economy will be made by the Scientific Technical Council that is advising the government on the crisis.

The number of new confirmed cases grew 1,615 overnight to 96,877. That increase was larger than the previous day’s, 1,195, and nearly double Tuesday’s figure of 880.

The total number of cases in the country now stands at 153,222, the second highest in the world after the US (466,033).

Civil Protection chief Angelo Borrelli said that the number of people hospitalized fell by 86 to 28,339 and 88 coronavirus patients were moved out of ICUs, leaving 3,605, he said.

“The past five days, have ended with fewer patients hospitalized compared to the previous day,” Franco Locatelli, chair of Italy’s Higher Health Council, told reporters on Thursday.

With concern about the economic damage from the shutdown growing more acute, the Senate approved on Thursday a 25 billion euro ($27.3 billion) aid package.

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India records highest single-day spike, surpasses China toll

India is currently in the fourth phase of lockdown which is till May 31. Cases spiked at record rate during the lockdown 4.0 that allowed much relaxation.

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New Delhi, May 29 : India on Friday not only recorded its largest jump in new cases as it added 7,466 new Covid patients in 24 hours, emerging as the ninth worst-hit country in the world by pandemic, but it also surpassed China’s toll of 4,638 so far as it recorded 4,706 deaths.

While China was the first country to report disease last December and recorded over 84,000 total cases so far, India that reported its first case in January end, now has 1,65,799 cases that is more than Turkey’s (1,60,979).

The only good news for India is that it has shown a 42.88 per cent recovery with 71,105 of the patients who contacted the disease being cured and sent back home. In the past one day, 175 deaths were also reported.

Delhi and Tamil Nadu showed jump of around 1,000 cases as Maharashtra continued to contribute a lion’s share, it was still the worst hit state that reported 59,546 cases so far. Tamil Nadu now has 19,372 and Delhi 16,281 cases.

Gujarat reported 15,562 cases, Rajasthan 8,067, Madhya Pradesh 7,453 and Uttar Pradesh 7,170.

Kerala which had almost flatten the curve, is witnessing a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, there are now 1,088.

Number of cases have spiked in the North East, with Assam having 856 cases.

Other States and UTs have also reported steady increase and West Bengal now has 4,536 cases, Telangana (2,256), Punjab (2,158), Jammu and Kashmir (2,036), Bihar (3,296) and Andhra Pradesh(3,251).

India is currently in the fourth phase of lockdown which is till May 31. Cases spiked at record rate during the lockdown 4.0 that allowed much relaxation.

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Harsh Vardhan snubs AIIMS director Guleria’s prediction on Covid peak

Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Director Dr Guleria on May 7 had said, “National and international both experts are analysing the data. Most of them have guessed that India will most likely see the peak in June or July.”

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Harsh Vardhan and Dr Randeep Guleria

New Delhi, May 28 : In what appears to be a snub to the prediction made by AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria regarding COVID pandemic peak in the country, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said its “difficult” to make an assumption about “future scenarios of the disease”.

The Health Minister, in an exclusive interview with IANS, said that given the heterogeneous mathematical modeling based on varied assumptions and less information available about the virus, it was extremely difficult to make accurate predictions about future scenarios of the disease.

To a query by the IANS on when to expect the curve to flatten since AIIMS Director Guleria has said that the situation may worsen in the next two months, Harsh Vardhan clarified, “Right now, we have a steady curve. It has never shown any exponential rise.”

This seemingly public disagreement with Guleria is manifestation of the government’s apparent unhappiness with the AIIMS chief’s comment that sparked off fear psychosis amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in India.

The Minister added, “We are now trying to bend the curve downwards. The trajectory of the outbreak is decided by a number of factors such as pathogenicity and transmissibility of virus; availability of specific treatment or vaccine; as well as collective performance of all public health interventions undertaken to contain the outbreak such as testing and early case detection, isolation, quarantine, contact-tracing, optimum care of cases and surveillance.”

The Minister also said that COVID-19 is a new disease and the behaviour of this virus in the evolving outbreak is “unknown”. “We have isolated the virus and our scientists and epidemiologists are studying it with the help of gene sequencing. Not much data about the virus and the disease is available at the moment,” he said.

“Further as far as the issue of predictions of the further spread of the disease is concerned, let me tell you that I keep on hearing about one mathematical prediction model or the other. There are so many such models giving so many predictions round-the-clock that it is difficult to track them or justify them. But just like any mathematical model, these models are based on a number of assumptions and presumptions which may or may not match with real ground data because the data is still being generated each day and the disease has not matured across the world. Therefore, it beats me as to with so much uncertainties, whether it is possible to make accurate predictions about future scenarios of the disease,” said the minister.

Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Director Dr Guleria on May 7 had said, “National and international both experts are analysing the data. Most of them have guessed that India will most likely see the peak in June or July.”

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Focus on migrants’ plight, don’t destabilise Maha govt: Priyanka Gandhi

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New Delhi, May 28 : Accusing the government of doing politics during the coronavirus crisis, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday raised the plight of migrant workers, citing the example of a toddler trying to wake her dead mother at a railway station.

“The country is pained to see such visuals,” she said and asked the government to provide help to the needy.

She also accused the BJP of trying to “destabilize” the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, comprising the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress in the state, instead of helping it in its fight against Covid-19.

In a video conference with Congress workers and leaders under the ‘Speakup’ campaign, the Congress leader spoke about the poor, migrants, small businesses and the middle class.

“We are doing this to make the government understand the demands of the people,” said Priyanka Gandhi, who is also party in-charge of eatsern Uttar Pradesh.

She said the government should immediately deposit Rs 10,000 into the bank accounts of the needy, provide Rs 7,500 for six months to the needy families and provide jobs to those who have returned to their homes under MGNREGA for 200 days instead of 100 days.

“The government should also provide the MSMEs a financial package so that they are not pushed into debt,” she said.

Slamming the BJP-led Central and UP government, she said, “I urge the BJP leaders to avoid doing politics. It is time to stand united by sidelining the differences and help the people.”

On Uttar Pradesh government rejecting the Congress’ offer of providing 1,000 buses to transport the stranded migrant workers, she said, “The 12,000 buses of UP Roadways are running only on paper.”

The Congress leader had offered to provide 1,000 buses to transport the migrant workers in UP. However, the state government had rejected the offer after three days of standoff at the state borders.

Priyanka accused the BJP of trying to destabilize the Maharashtra government at a time the state is reporting a high number of Covid-19 cases. “Instead of providing help to the Maharashtra government, you (BJP) people are working against it to destabilize it,” she said.

Reminding the BJP, that all the political parties are indebted to people of the country even in their victories and in defeat. “With their humility people have supported everyone of us and today the people of the country are pained,” she said.

Highlighting the plight of migrant workers travelling back to their homes, Priyanka Gandhi said, “We have seen the visuals of a son pulling a cart carrying his parents, of a daughter taking her father 1,200 km away on a bicycle and of many people dying in Shramik Specials.

“These visuals — a child dying in the lap of his father and another child trying to wake up his dead mother on a railway platform — can make anyone cry. But you (BJP leaders) are silent and not helping the people.”

The demands raised by her are not political, she said.

The visuals of a toddler trying to wake her dead mother on a railway platform went viral on Wednesday. The woman had got down from the Ahmedabad-Katihar Shramik Special train at Muzaffarpur railway station in Bihar on Monday. According to railway officials, the woman was had prior ailment.

“Leave politics as the people who have supported you must get the support back from you in this tough time,” said Priyanka.

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