March 21 (The Indian Express) – The number of positive cases in India rose to 271 Saturday, from 236 a day earlier, according to the Indian Council of Medical research. With 63 cases reported on Friday itself, the government decided to change testing criteria for COVID-19 to include all pneumonia cases, regardless of travel or contact history. Earlier, testing was limited to symptomatic patients with travel or contact history, and symptomatic health workers with contact history. While 23 have recovered so far, four have died.
Globally, Italy reported a dramatic surge in coronavirus deaths at 627 Friday, taking the total number of casualties to 11,399 while the number of infected people topped 275,000. Wuhan in China reported no new cases even on Friday, sparking a glimmer of hope. While Italy has reported 4,032 deaths so far, China has reported 3,139 deaths, Iran 1,433 and Spain 1,093.
US President Donald Trump has said he greatly respects China and shares a “very good” relationship with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, but termed it “unfortunate” that the coronavirus began in the Communist nation and got out of control.
In an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called for a ‘Janata curfew’ on March 22 (Sunday) asking people to not step out of homes between 7 am and 9 pm. In an extraordinary decision, Indian Railways announced Friday that it would stop its services across the country from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday during the Janata Curfew. In wake of large-scale cancellation of trains, Railways has decided that if it cancels a train, booked passengers can claim a full refund within 45 days instead of the current rule of 3 days from the date of the journey.