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COVID-19 count balloons to 5274 with 773 fresh cases, Centre asks state to invoke EC Act


Agencies, New Delhi

 As India entered the third week of the nationwide lockdown on Wednesday, coronavirus curve steepened with the country reporting over 773 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 5,274 and casualties to 149, and the Centre asking state governments and Union Territories to invoke Essential Commodities Act.
Underlining that the situation in the country is akin to a 'social emergency', Prime Minister Narendra Modi said several state governments, district administrations and experts have asked for extension of lockdown.

Mr Modi said saving each and every life is priority of the government. During interaction with floor leaders of political parties in Parliament via video conference, opposition
leaders suggested extending the lockdown and on a phased exit after lockdown ends. In a letter, Chief Secretaries and Administrators of Union Territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla asked all the states to take urgent steps to ensure availability of essential goods, by invoking provisions of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955. Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar has called for strict compliance of exemptions given to agriculture and allied sectors and directed setting up of control rooms.

The worst-affected states were Maharashtra which reported 1,078 cases and 64 casualties so far, followed by Tamil Nadu 690 and Delhi 576. Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsanaro appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India's efforts in combating the deadly Novel Coronavirus pandemic and the internaational cooperation the country has been extending. In a letter to Mr Modi, President Bolsanaro compared India's help and efforts in tackling the spread of COVID-19 to the efforts of Lord Hanuman in bringing

Sanjeevani medicine from the Himalayan mountain range to save the life of Lakshmana. To count on more accolades, United Nations Asia Pacific Economic and Social Commission (UNESCAP) also praised India's steps in the wake of the coronavirus, saying country's policy towards fighting the pandemic is in right direction.

Currently, the active COVID cases stand at 4,714 and the casualties at 149. There is also an increase seen in the number of cured cases, which is 410, as compared last evening's 352, as per Health Ministry data. In the past two to three days, confirmed cases have rapidly spiked in Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.



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