The nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases crossed 1.9 lakh on Monday after thousands more tested positive across states, but recoveries also rose further to nearly 95,000 while several cities saw the lockdown restrictions being eased with even traffic snarls returning back on roads.
The death toll rose to 5,394 after a record single-day spike of 230 fatalities in the 24 hours since Sunday 8am, the Union Health Ministry said in its morning update. It showed the number of confirmed cases rising by 8,392 to 1,90,535.
However, a PTI tally of figures announced by states and union territories as of 9.35pm on Monday showed a higher death toll of 5,501. It also showed the number of confirmed cases across the country having risen to 1,92,174.
India is now the seventh worst hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic after the US, Brazil, Russia, the UK, Spain and Italy, according to the WHO's coronavirus tracker.
Globally, close to 62 lakh people have tested positive for the dreaded virus infection ever since it was first reported in China last December, while more than 3.72 lakh have lost their lives. However, close to 27 lakh have recovered worldwide since then and many countries have exited or begun exiting their respective lockdowns to revive stalled economies and safeguard the livelihood of the people.
In India, the number of active COVID-19 cases stands at 93,322 while 91,818 people have recovered, giving a recovery rate of 48.19%, according to the the latest health ministry data. The tallies announced by different states and UTs till later in the evening showed the number of recovered or discharged patients having risen to 94,879.
Globally, close to 43% people have recovered so far while nearly 6% have succumbed.
The health ministry said India's COVID-19 recovery rate has been improving and the rate of fatality has seen a steady decline to reach 2.83%. It said the recovery rate has improved from 11.42% on April 15 to 26.59% on May 3 and to 38.29% on May 18.
It further said the case fatality rate in India is 2.8% as against 6.19% globally. "A steady decline can be seen in the case fatality rate in the country. The relatively low death rate is attributed to the continued focus on surveillance, timely case identification and clinical management of the cases," the ministry said.
Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh reported more cases even as measures continued to contain the spread and to beef up the medical infrastructure to treat those contracting the virus.
In the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced reopening of barber shops and salons, among various other relaxations, but said spas will remain closed for now. A complete lockdown in containment zones will continue till June 30. Kejriwal also said there will be no restrictions on the number of people travelling in four-wheelers, two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, e-rickshaws and other vehicles in the city.
While all shops in markets have been permitted to function, they can be closed by authorities if social distancing guidelines are not followed, according to a government order. Fresh orders would be issued later for further relaxations from June 8 as per the guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry over the weekend.
While domestic flights have begun in a phased manner, the international flights would be allowed only in the third phase of unlocking, though no dates have been decided so far. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said several factors like restrictions in metro cities and the ban imposed by various countries on the entry of foreigners need to be addressed before resuming international passenger flights.
Aviation regulator DGCA separately asked airlines to keep middle seats vacant to the extent possible in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. If a flyer has been allotted the middle seat due to a high passenger load, then additional protective equipment like a wrap-around gown must be provided to the passenger in addition to a three-layered face mask and face shield, the DGCA said.
Separately, several states also began allowing various activities that have been restricted since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown came into effect to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
(With inputs from PTI)