India’s corona count rises to 21,393; death toll at 681

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recorded  21,393  coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in India today, and the death toll stood at 681.

Globally, 2,637,888 people had been infected, of whom 184,253 had died, according to Worldometer. At 5,652, Maharashtra had the highest number of cases among Indian states.

It was followed by Gujarat (2,407), Delhi (2,248), Rajasthan (1,890), Madhya Pradesh (1,592), Tamil Nadu (1,629), and Uttar Pradesh (1,449). The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were worrying upward trends in early epidemics in parts of Africa and central and South America, warning that the “virus would be with us for a long time”.

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.

President Ram Nath Kovind has approved to promulgate The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which provides stricter punishments for attacks against health workers.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance making acts of violence and harassment against healthcare personnel deployed in combating COVID-19 a non-bailable offence with maximum punishment of seven years and Rs 5 lakh fine, meeting a key demand of health professionals in the wake of recent attacks on them.

Asserting that the government has “zero tolerance” for violence and harassment against doctors, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare personnel, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said a person can be sentenced to anywhere between three months and five years in jail, besides a fine between Rs 50,000 and two lakh, for such crimes under the new provision.

In cases where injuries are serious, the punishment will range from six months to seven years, and carry fine between Rs 1-5 lakhs, the minister said.