New Delhi: With single-day COVID-19 numbers in India witnessing a massive spike everyday, the Centre on Friday defended the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, saying that had it not been effected, the number of cases today would be much higher than what they currently are. Also Read - 'We're All Vulnerable': Top Congress Spokesperson Sanjay Jha Announces he Tested Positive For Coronavirus

Speaking at a briefing of the Ministry of Health, VK Paul, NITI Aayog member and the chairman of the government appointed Empowered Group 1, said, “The growth rate of COVID-19 cases has witnessed a steady fall from April 3, 2020, when lockdown was able to put a brake on the speed of growth. The number of cases today would have been much higher, had lockdown not been implemented.” Also Read - Coronavirus Shaped Robots Deployed in Chennai to Sanitise Containment Zones, Netizens Impressed

He added that just like the total number of cases, the growth rate of the number of COVID-19 deaths too had fallen significantly due to the lockdown; this, he added, marked a ‘notable’ difference between pre- and post-lockdown situations. Also Read - Coronavirus: India Registers Largest Single-Day Spike Thus Far; 6,008 Cases Reported in Last 24 Hours

“Current active COVID-19 cases, as of May 21, are concentrated in a few states and cities/districts; around 80% in 5 states, over 60% in 5 cities, over 90% in 10 states and over 70% in 10 cities,” he further said.

Notably, the ongoing nationwide lockdown, which is currently in its fourth phase and is scheduled to go on till May 31, has been in effect continuously since March 25. It was scheduled to end on April 14, but has, since then, been extended thrice, till May 3, then May 17, and, finally, till May 31.

However, with recent surge in everyday numbers, India’s current COVID-19 count stands at 1,18,447, including 66,330 active cases and 3,583 casualties. In the last 24 hours, the country witnessed its largest single-day spike of 6,088 new cases.

Majority of the country’s total number of cases are from the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Delhi, which are, in that order, the four worst-affected states by coronavirus.