COVID-19 cases surpass 600,000-mark in India, death toll rises to 17,834

The total COVID-19 cases in India surpassed 600,000-mark, reaching 604,641, on Thursday, as the death toll rose to 17,834, said the latest data released by the health ministry.

The ministry said 434 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 19,148 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 17,834 and total cases to 604,641.

“As on 8:00 a.m. (local time) Thursday, 17,834 deaths related to novel Coronavirus have been recorded in the country,” reads information released by the ministry.

On Wednesday morning the number of COVID-19 cases in the country was 585,493, and the death toll 17,400.

According to ministry officials, so far 359,860 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

“The number of active cases in the country right now is 226,947,” reads the information.

The country entered Unlock 2.0 phase on Wednesday, the guidelines of which continue to impose restrictions inside the COVID-19 Containment Zones. It has been decided that schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till July 31.

As per the fresh guidelines, operations of domestic flights and passenger trains, which have already been allowed in a limited manner, will be further expanded in a calibrated manner.

Night curfew timings have been further relaxed and curfew shall be in force from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (local time). Further, relaxations in night curfew have been given for seamless operation of industrial units in multiple shifts, movement of persons and goods on national and state highways, loading and unloading of cargo and movement of persons to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and airplanes.

Training institutions of the central and state governments will be allowed to function with effect from July 15, said the guidelines.

It has also been decided that schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till July 31.

International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner as further opening up will take place in a calibrated manner during Unlock 2.0, said the guidelines.

In the aftermath of the guidelines, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in a public announcement said, “In light of the guidelines issued by the government, Metro services will remain closed for commuters until further notice.”

The past few weeks have witnessed growing protests by owners of gymnasiums and fitness centres demanding the government to allow reopening, and ensuring that adequate physical distancing measures would be observed.