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Coronavirus death toll rises to 19, positive cases cross 800 in India

New Delhi: The number of death toll due to coronavirus (COVID-19) rose to 10 while the positive cases climbed to 873 in India on Saturday, according to the Union Health Ministry.

In its updated figures at 9.30 am, the ministry mentioned two fresh deaths — one each in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

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Thus, deaths due to COVID-19 have so far been reported from Maharashtra (5), Gujarat (3), Karnataka (2), Madhya Pradesh (2) and one each from Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

According to the data, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country stood at 775, while 78 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated.

The Union civil aviation ministry has announced that an air cargo management group has been created to move essential commodities across the country, which is under a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Private airlines or freighters have been co-opted to link the request of states or union territories for smooth movement of essential items,” the ministry said on Twitter tonight.

It said that “additionally, ATR aircraft of Alliance Air have been kept on standby at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad”.

Planes are being chartered at concessional rates for boxes that need a large aircraft, especially to move items of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to states, the ministry said.

“Helicopters are ready in the north-east for intra-region movements. Support is being given to private agencies interested in aiding efforts,” it said.

The country is under a 21-day lockdown from March 25 to curb the spread of the coronavirus and all domestic and international commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period.

“An air cargo management group for COVID-19 has been created with a dedicated team for smooth movement of cargo. Ministry is adopting a hub & spoke approach to move essential commodities across the country. Resident commissioners of states/union territories are part of the group,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Essential items especially medicine and ICMR kits were transported from Delhi to Aizawl, Dibrugarh, Kolkata and Hyderabad on Friday, it said.

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“The second flight of the day transported essential items from Mumbai to Pune, Bengaluru and Trivandrum,” the ministry said.

“The third batch of air cargo carried essential items from Delhi to Pune and ICMR kits from Pune to Patna. Thereafter, testing kits were delivered in Delhi aboard the return flight from Patna,” it said.

(PTI)

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