Coronavirus infected 8,356 people in India, killed 273; 909 new cases reported in 24 hours, 34 people died

New Delhi: The highly infectious novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has infected 8,356 people in India, killed 273, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday, adding that 909 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, 34 people died.
The latest figures come a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held a four-hour meet with at least 13 chief ministers on video conference on Saturday, indicated that the nationwide lockdown would be extended by two weeks.
PM Modi is likely to give a televised address to the nation again to announce the extension of the lockdown, which began on March 25 to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. This time, however, the government is likely to expand its focus to salvaging the economy while trying to control the spread of the virus to save lives at the same time amid rising number of cases.
The coronavirus pandemic will hit India and other South Asia countries very hard and the significant gains made in poverty alleviation in the region are likely to be wiped out due to, the World Bank warned on Sunday, adding that the countries in the region will record their worst growth performance in four decades this year.
As a part of the shift in the government’s strategy to tackle the pandemic, the Council of Ministers, headed by PM Modi and including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nirmala Sitharaman, will resume work at their ministries from Monday, a day before the nationwide shutdown ends, sources have said.
Four states – Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra and Telangana – have already announced an extension of the lockdown till the end of this month. The Bihar government in a letter to the centre raised no objection to extending the lockdown; however, it wants an exception for rural construction and flood relief work to continue, sources have told NDTV. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also supported the PM’s decision to extend the lockdown.