While Maharashtra has crossed the mark of 1600 COVID-19 positive cases, nine districts of the state have remained free of the virus infection, said the State Health Ministry. The nine districts with no coronavirus positive patient include Dhule, Nandurbar, Solapur, Parbhani, Nanded, Wardha, Bhandara, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli. Moreover, there are 8 other districts in the state which have so far reported 1 coronavirus positive case each till date. These districts -- Nashik, Jalgaon, Sindhudurg, Jalna, Hindoo, Beed, Washim and Gondia are expected to become COVID-19 free by Sunday.
With 40 deaths and 1,035 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, India on Saturday witnessed the sharpest ever increase in coronavirus cases, taking the tally of the infected people in the country to 7,447, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's latest bulletin on Saturday.
Among 7,447 COVID-19 positive cases, 6,565 are active cases, 643 are cured, discharged and migrated, and 239 patients have succumbed to the virus.
As India battles the COVID-19 crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a video conference with chief ministers primarily to take their feedback on whether the 21-day nationwide lockdown be extended beyond April 14 to stem the tide of the infections.
The initial visuals of the meeting showed Modi wearing a white mask during the interaction which was among others attended by chief ministers -- Amrinder Singh (Punjab), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Manohar Lal (Haryana), K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana) and Nitish kumar (Bihar).
The Central government is understood to have also obtained views on the issue from all the relevant agencies and stakeholders involved in the efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The video conference, which began at 11 am, comes amidst indications that the central government may extend the nationwide lockdown with some possible relaxations even as Punjab and Odisha have already announced extending the lockdown beyond April 14 when the current spell of 21-day shutdown across the country ends on Tuesday.
The Union Home Ministry has sought views of state governments on various aspects, including whether more categories of people and services need to be exempted. In the current lockdown only essential services are exempted.
This is for the second time the prime minister is interacting with the chief ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed.
During his April 2 interaction with chief ministers, Modi had pitched for a "staggered" exit from the ongoing lockdown.
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