The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 718 and the number of cases climbed to 23,077 in the country on Friday, with 37 more deaths and 1,684 fresh cases being reported in the past 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry. The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 17,610 as 4,748 people were cured and discharged, and one patient migrated, the ministry said.
Of the 686 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 283 fatalities, followed by Gujarat at 112, Madhya Pradesh at 83, Delhi at 50, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh at 27 each and Telengana at 24. The death toll reached 24 in Uttar Pradesh, 20 in Tamil Nadu while Karnataka has reported 17 cases.
Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said that the growth curve of COVID-19 has been flattened but it is difficult to tell when it will reach its peak.
"It is very difficult to tell that peak in COVID-19 cases will arrive by May 3 or when it will come. But it is very stable. The positivity rate has been 4.5% throughout, one can say we have been able to flatten the curve. However, difficult to predict it (peak)," Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR said in New Delhi while addressing a press conference.
AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria emphasised that it is important to not stigmatise those who have recovered from COVID-19, Guleria said, "This is a disease which is not that serious, 90-95% people recover, if we have that stigma and we don't come forward then we may land up in a situation where because of our delayed treatment we may have higher mortality."
The country is currently in the second phase of the nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 and will go on till May 3. In an address to the nation on April 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "It is clearly evident from the experience of the past few days, that we have chosen the correct path. Our country has greatly benefited from social distancing and lockdown. From an economic only point of view, it undoubtedly looks costly right now; but measured against the lives of Indian citizens, there is no comparison itself. The path that India has taken within our limited resources has become a topic of discussion in the entire world today."
(With agency inputs)