00:21 GMT04 April 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of COVID 19, calling it a “critical step in the decisive fight against the corona pandemic.”

    India's federal Health Ministry stated on Thursday that the number of fresh COVID19 cases fell in the last 24 hours as compared to the sharp spike that the country witnessed during the past few days. But on Thursday, India saw the highest number of deaths in a single day, with 7 fatalities, and 75 more confirmed cases.

    On Friday morning, data released by federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry put the death toll at 17 and confirmed cases at 724, including 47 foreign nationals.  

    Luv Agarwal, the Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry, said: “Though the trend is not very well established, we are seeing… a little bit of a reduction in the rate of increase of cases.”

    Agarwal added that “we still cannot be relaxed about the situation," and urged people to adhere to social distancing measures.

    Meanwhile, the government has maintained that stage III of the COVID19 infection – community transmission – has still not started in India, adding that measures are being taken to prevent it.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March imposed a 21-day lockdown, a measure that was welcomed by the World Health Organisation, but was also termed “not enough” to completely tackle the spread of coronavirus.

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