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COVID-19 deaths reach 17 in India; country to participate in WHO solidarity trial for drugs


An Indian man feeds pigeons in a deserted commercial hub, as a nationwide lockdown continues in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 27, 2020 in New Delhi, India.(Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)
An Indian man feeds pigeons in a deserted commercial hub, as a nationwide lockdown continues in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 27, 2020 in New Delhi, India.(Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

THE death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 17 in the country on Friday (27) and the number of coronavirus cases climbed to 724, according to the Health Ministry.

In its updated figures, the ministry stated that four deaths were reported from Maharashtra while Gujarat had registered three deaths.

Karnataka has reported two deaths so far, while Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh have reported one death each.

According to the data, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country stood at 640, while 66 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated.

The total number of 724 cases included 47 foreign nationals, the ministry said.

India is likely to participate in the WHO’s “solidarity trial” for developing potential drugs for COVID-19, officials said on Friday.

At a press briefing on coronavirus, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said 75 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours.

“We are soon likely to participate in the WHO solidarity trial for developing potential drugs for COVID-19. Earlier we did not do it because our numbers were small and our contribution would have looked minuscule,” Raman R Gangakhedkar, Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at ICMR, said.

Agarwal said that a PSU has been ordered to provide 10,000 ventilators while Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has been requested to purchase 30,000 additional ventilators in one-two months amidst a shortage of the machines in the country.

Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), said that states and union territories (UTs) have been requested to make arrangements for food, water and sanitation for migrant labourers. Hotels and rented accommodation should stay open and functional.

She, however, ruled out any plan to ferry stranded migrants from across cities or states, saying that the whole idea of a lockdown was to ensure no movement of people from their present places.