New Delhi, March 20: India witnessed an alarming rise in the number of coronavirus cases, with the highest single-day surge recorded so far. The numbers of infected patients crossed the 200-mark on Friday, and was confirmed to be 236 by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) by the time this report was published. The toll was expected to rise further by the morning, when the Health Ministry would issue the updated numbers. Catch all the live updates related to coronavirus outbreak in India and abroad.

The fatality-count remained at four, with no fresh death reported today. The number of positive cases, however, rose by nearly 50. The surge marked fears of whether the nation is sliding into stage 3 of the viral disease, when community outbreaks are reported. As of now, the ICMR has stressed that India is in the stage 2 category -- since all the new cases are either of those who have travel history or those who came in contact with them.

The country also began bracing for the "janata curfew" or the single-day curfew on Sunday called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Metro rail services would remain snapped on the day in several cities, whereas, the local train network in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai would also be reduced to the "bare minimum" level, the Railways announced in a statement. It further added that all passenger train services would be suspended between March 21 midnight to 10 pm on March 22.

Kanika Kapoor Case Sparks Fear Among Politicians

The biggest high-profile coronavirus case in India was confirmed on Friday, as Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor tested positive for COVID-19. She had recently returned from London and was residing with her family in Lucknow. Since her return, she reportedly attended four parties, including the one held last week where a number of influential politicians were present.

Among those politicians with whom Kanika interacted include former Rajasthan chief minister and BJP veteran Vasundhara Raje, her lawmaker-son Dushyant Singh and Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh. Dushyant, a member of Lok Sabha, had in the past few days shared spaces with lawmakers cutting across party lines in the Parliament.

Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien announced that he would remain in self-isolation for two weeks as Dushyant was seated next to him in the Parliament. Aam Aadmi Party's Sanjay Singh announced that he would also go into self-quarantine as he was in contact with O'Brien -- who had shared space with Dushyant.

Jai Pratap Singh also announced that he would also remain in self-isolation for 14 days for being present at the party attended by Kanika. Subsequently, UP BJP MLAs Pankaj Singh, Dhirendra Singh and Tejpal Nagar - who came in contact with the Health Minister - decided to go into self-quarantine.

The health department in Uttar Pradesh announced that they would be tracing down all individuals who came in contact with Kanika to test their samples for coronavirus. Action has also been initiated against the singer for not adopting precautions after returning from the UK. An FIR was directed to be filed against her by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

In Uttar Pradesh, where three legislators and State Health Minister have went into self-quarantine, the total number of COVID-19 cases have jumped to 23. Maharashtra and Kerala are the two worst affected among all other provinces, with 52 and 40 cases confirmed so far, respectively. The four deaths have each been reported in Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab and Karnataka.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 20, 2020 11:40 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website