coronavirus
coronavirus
(PTI Photo/R Senthil Kumar)

New Delhi: The number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 223 on Friday evening after 50 fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country while 6,700 people who came in contact with the patients are under rigorous surveillance, the Union health ministry said.

Among those found positive for coronavirus are 32 foreign nationals including 17 from Italy, three from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each belonging to Canada, Indonesia and Singapore.

The figure also includes four deaths reported so far from Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra.

Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Aggarwal urged people to follow the Prime Minister's call to observe the Janata curfew and stay at home on March 22 from 7 am-9 pm while emphasising that social distancing was primary to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection.

He also urged people to use the toll free number 1075 for any query to steer clear of all kinds of rumours and misinformation.

"I request everyone in the society to use our toll free number 1075, seek information and steer clear of all kinds of misinformation. The prime minister has called for Janta curfew. One day's cooperation will help break the chain of transmission," Aggarwal said.

He also said there was no shortage of essential commodities to fight coronavirus.

Responding to a question over celebrity singer Kanika Kapoor having tested positive and if those who came in contact with her are being identified, the officer said contact tracing is the immediate protocol initiatied after a positive case comes to light and all action for containment of the disease begins too.

Maintaining that the death toll in the country is four so far, Aggarwal said the Italian man who died in Jaipur on Friday will not be counted among those dead in India due to coronavirus saying the elderly foreign national after being cured had tested negative.

Central teams have been sent to states to help them in strengthening their capacities in tackling coronavirus, he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday deliberated upon ways to check the spread of coronavirus with the chief ministers of various states.

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