The surge in the number of COVID-19 cases has gone “from bad to worse”, said member (health) of the NITI Aayog V.K. Paul on Tuesday as India registered 56,211 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Dr Paul said 10 districts across India including Pune (59,475), Mumbai (46,248), Nagpur ( 45,322), Thane (35,264), Nashik (26,553), Aurangabad (21,282) and Bengaluru Urban (16,259) currently have the highest active COVID case load.
The cases include 855 cases from virus variants.
Speaking at a press conference, Dr. Paul noted that the country is facing an increasingly severe and intensive situation in some districts but the whole country is potentially at risk. “All efforts to contain the virus and save lives should be taken,” he said.
Step up testing
Also addressing the presser, Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan stressed the need to take urgent action to curb the surge. He said States have been asked to ramp up testing with focus on RT-PCR tests, ensure effective and prompt isolation of those infected and tracing their close contacts while strengthening public and private health care resources.
“Ensuring COVID appropriate behaviour and saturation of vaccination for priority age groups” in districts reporting surge in cases is also a priority, he said.
“India is currently showing a weekly national average positivity rate of 5.65% with Maharashtra showing a weekly average of 23.4%, Punjab (8.82%), Chhattisgarh (8%), Madhya Pradesh (7.82%), Tamil Nadu (2.50%), Karnataka (2.45%), Gujarat (2.2%) and Delhi (2.04%),” said Mr. Bhushan
In a letter to chief secretaries/ administrators of all States/ UTs, the Ministry said, “The current rise in cases is of concern and has the potential of overwhelming health care systems, unless checked right now. Many districts in the country are seeing clusters of cases emerging because of specific events, crowding coupled with lack of COVID appropriate behavior.”
The Ministry added that some districts which saw a high number of cases in August-November last year, are again seeing a high growth rate of cases. In addition a number of new districts that saw a limited prevalence earlier, are worryingly, showing a surge in cases, it said.
Speaking at the presser, Mr. Bhushan said that as per a government survey 97% people were satisfied with the overall vaccination experience. He added that till date the Ministry has not received any specific request from Maharashtra government to carry-out do door-to-door vaccination.
Meanwhile six States, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, continue to report a surge in the daily cases and 78.56% of the new cases are reported from these States, said a statement from the Health Ministry.
Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 31,643. It is followed by Punjab with 2,868 while Karnataka reported 2,792 new cases.
India’s total active case load reached 5,40,720 today.
Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh cumulatively account for 79.64% of the total active cases in the country. Maharashtra leads with more than 62% of the active caseload of the country.
India’s cumulative recoveries stand at 1,13,93,021 today and 37,028 recoveries were registered in the last 24 hours.