New Delhi: India loses its grip on cornavirus as the country saw the highest jump in COVID-19 cases with 194 people testing positive for the deadly pandemic from across the country on Saturday. The total tally now stands at 918, including 23 deaths, 79 recovered and 47 foreigners, the Union Health Ministry said in a statement. Also Read - Coronavirus: PM Narendra Modi Praises Suresh Raina For Donation to COVID-19 Relief Funds in Quirky Fashion | POST

Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases so far at 210, including three foreign nationals, followed by Kerala, where the number of cases has climbed to 176, including eight foreign nationals, according to the ministry data. Also Read - Coronavirus in Telangana: State Reports First COVID-19 Death; No 'Red Zone' Declared in Hyderabad

Meanwhile, South Indian states like Kerala and Telangana also reported their first COVID-19 deaths on Saturday.  While a 74-year-old man died in Telangana,  a 69-year-old man succumbed to COVID-19 infection at Ernakulam Medical College Hospital in Kerala.

Earlier deaths were reported from Maharashtra (6), Gujarat (4), Karnataka (2), Madhya Pradesh (2) and one each from Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

Is India Ready For Stage 3?

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health as well as members of COVID-19 task force maintained that India has not entered into stage 3 (the community transmission of coronavirus) at the moment. However, preparations to combat such a situation have already started.

Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the ICMR Raman R Gangakhedkar said all patients with severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) are being tested for the coronavirus infection, according to the revised guidelines of COVID-19.

Refuting the possibility of community transmission, Gangakhedkar said that they have just started testing SARI cases. “There are some sporadic instances where people are not revealing their exposure history but their numbers are not significant that we take it that the virus is spreading rapidly,” Gangakhedkar said.

“Till the time we see a significant number of cases to indicate community transmission, let us not over interpret things”, he added.

Yesterday, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had stated that his team of doctors has formulated a full-fledged plan to deal with a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi.

“We are ready to fight any situation. I have received the report from the panel of doctors headed by Dr Sareen recommending measures to prepare for a potential Stage 3 outbreak of COVID-19 in Delhi. We are ramping up our capacity for an eventuality of 1,000 daily positive cases, for testing, treatment and isolation,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader had said.

On the other hand, PM Modi creates special relief fund to fight pandemic. Besides, resources were also being mobilised from private medical establishments, and armed forces while the railways manufactured a prototype of an isolation ward for treating coronavirus patients by converting non-air-conditioned train coaches. The armed forces are keeping ready 28 service hospitals to provide treatment to COVID-19 patients.