In the sharpest increase ever, India has recorded 37 deaths and 896 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of COVID-19 infections to 6,761 and deaths to 206, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

Of the total number, 6,039 are active cases, while 516 were cured, discharged or migrated.

In the last 48 hours, about 1,487 COVID-19 cases have been reported across the country, the health ministry informed.

In a daily briefing on the current Coronavirus situation in the country, Ministry of Health Joint Secretary Lav Agrawal reasserted that there has been no ‘community transmission’ in the country yet and there is no need to panic. He, however, asked everyone to remain aware and vigilant.

“In case there is an instance of community transmission, we will apprise the people first,” the health ministry has maintained.

“Today, the challenge is not local or community transmission but if we are taking all the precautionary and containment measures,” Lav Agrawal added.

He further clarified that 2 per cent cases tested positive out of 16,002 samples tested on Thursday and not 0.2 per cent as mentioned earlier. On the basis of the samples collected, the infection rate is not high, he added.

Speaking on reports of attacks against doctors and medical professionals, Agrawal said “Health workers are on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19 and any type of misbehaviour with them is harmful to us”. Incidents of misbehaviour with them negatively affects their morale, he said.

The health ministry further said that India has enough stock of Hydroxychloroquine, a key anti-malaria drug believed to be effective in the traetment of Coronavirus.

“We have a domestic requirement of 1 crore Hydroxychloroquine tablets while we have 3.28 crore Hydroxychloroquine tablets available now,” the health official said.

Speaking on the drug export, Dammu Ravi, AS and Coordinator [COVID-19], MEA, said several countries have made requests for this particular item and taking into view the domestic necessities and keeping a sufficient buffer for India’s own requirement, a decision was taken by a group of ministers to release some of the surplus medicine for export purposes.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked states to enforce strict lockdown ahead of upcoming festivals.

“In view of the ensuing festivals in the month of April 2020, MHA has directed all States/UTs to ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures to fight COVID-19,” said Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, in the daily briefing.

Earlier, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that he had requested the health ministers of all states to ensure that the lockdown is followed 100 percent. “If we lag behind in this, it will be difficult for us to win this fight against COVID-19,” he added.