Joint Secretary in the ministry Lav Agarwal said there had been 693 new COVID-19 cases and 30

NEW DELHI: Out of the total 4,067 cases of coronavirus in the country, at least 1,445 have been found to be linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, the Union health ministry on Monday.

The ministry's updated data came a day after it said the rate of doubling of COVID-19 cases in India accelerated to 4.1 days from the estimated 7.4 days due to the Jamaat event in Nizamuddin West last month.

Joint Secretary in the ministry Lav Agarwal said there had been 693 new COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths since Sunday.

The total death toll now stands at 109.

However, a PTI tally based on figures reported by states directly showed at least 126 deaths across the country, while the confirmed cases reached 4,111.

Of them, 315 have been cured and discharged.

On AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria reportedly saying that there has been "localised community transmission" in some parts of the country, Agarwal commented, "What the director has said is not in variance with what we have been explaining to you. He said localised community transmission, which implies a larger number of cases have been found in a particular area." 

Males account for 73 per cent deaths due to COVID-19, while females 27 per cent, Agarwal said, adding that 63 per cent deaths have been reported among people above 60 years.

According to an ICMR official, there is limited evidence on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine to deal with COVID-19 cases and therefore, there is not enough proof to advise it for the general public.

Joint Secretary (MHA) Punya Salila Srivastava said that it is very important to maintain the supply of oxygen across the country.

Srivastava said both national and World Health Organisation (WHO) lists have also declared oxygen as a very essential medical item. She maintained that the production, as well as the supply chain of oxygen is exempted from the 21-day lockdown restrictions.

To reiterate it, the Home Secretary on Monday again wrote to the state governments about the importance of oxygen availability.

"The states have been directed to ensure the supply chain without hindrance. The Home Secretary also stressed that social distancing and proper hygiene should be maintained while continuing its supply chain," Srivastava said.

"He also instructed the states that this direction should be brought to the notice of district authorities and field officers and ensure its strict implementation."

The official expressed satisfaction over supply of essential goods, asserting that the central government is continuously monitoring it with the help of state governments.