COVID-19 cases in India cross 9 lakh just three days after going past 8 lakh-mark; several states announce fresh curbs
With 28,498 fresh cases recorded in a day, India's COVID-19 tally went past nine lakh on Tuesday, just three days after it crossed the eight-lakh mark
Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu remain the two worst-affected states in the country, accounting for 50 percent of the total active cases, even as India's COVID-19 tally went past nine lakh, just three days after it crossed eight lakh cases.
As per the health ministry's figures, the two states account for 1,54,134 of the country's 3,11,565 active cases. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 9,06,752 on Tuesday and deaths climbed to 23,727, according to the ministry's data updated at 8 am.
India reported a daily surge of 28,498 cases on Tuesday, the ministry said.
Karnataka, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Gujarat and Assam are the other affected states that contribute to 36 percent of the total active cases (1,11,068 cases), Rajesh Bhushan, the officer on special duty in the Health Ministry, told a press briefing.
Bhushan further said that 22 states are doing more than 140 COVID-19 tests per day per million, in line with the comprehensive testing guidance note by the WHO. The official asked the remaining states and Union Territories to increase testing accordingly.
More states impose restrictions amid rising cases
The health ministry's revelations have come amid nearly a dozen states re-imposing lockdown in selected areas for varying periods to check the surge in COVID-19.
In Maharashtra, which has the highest number of cases at 2,67,665, a 10-day strict lockdown came into force from Monday in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. A lockdown has been imposed in Osmanabad city till 19 July to break the chain of the viral spread.
With some Haryana districts falling in the National Capital Region seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, home minister Anil Vij indicated that the state may also impose stricter curbs in its worst-affected areas.
Of the over 22,000 cases in the state as of Tuesday, three districts alone — Gurgaon, Faridabad and Sonipat, all of which fall in the NCR, contributed to nearly 15,000 of the cases and also to nearly 75 percent of the total fatalities.
Assam had extended the two-week lockdown imposed from 28 June in Kamrup Metropolitan district, under which Guwahati falls, by a week till 19 July from 6 pm on Sunday.
After Kashipur, a three-day lockdown has been imposed in Rudrapur and Bajpur in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand with effect from midnight Monday due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, a senior state official said.
Strict lockdown restrictions were reimposed in most parts of Kashmir, including in the city, on Monday after a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the valley over the past one week, officials said.
The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to implement strict restrictions across the state on weekends to check the spread of coronavirus, joining Karnataka and Tamil Nadu which have been imposing Sunday lockdown.
The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday issued detailed directives for the weekend lockdown.
All urban and rural haats, markets, galla mandis and business establishments in Uttar Pradesh would remain closed during the period, it said.
Tamil Nadu had earlier imposed lockdown for varying periods in Chennai, Madurai and nearby regions. Tamil Nadu has the second highest number of cases in the country.
The Arunachal Pradesh government had on Saturday extended the lockdown in the capital region for another week till 5 pm on 20 July in view of the spurt in COVID-19 cases in the region.
The Meghalaya government had imposed a lockdown in Shillong from 6 AM on Monday till Wednesday 6 AM.
The lockdown will not be extended further as contact-tracing in identified clusters has been completed, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said on Tuesday.
Bihar recorded a single-day spike of 1,432 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, which pushed the total tally in the state to 18,853, the health department said.
While Bihar on Tuesday extended the curbs to the whole of the state from 16 to 31 July, reports stated that the Karnataka government is planning to place the Bidar district in north Karnataka under lockdown for a week.
Bidar has the highest mortality rate in the state, the report added.
While a week-long lockdown began in Bengaluru, a seven day lockdown is set to come to effect in Yadgir and Dakshin Kannada districts from 8 pm tomorrow (15 July). Dharwad will be placed under lockdown for nine days.
There was a huge rush of customers at grocery stores and liquor shops ahead of the lockdown.
The state on Tuesday reported 2,496 new COVID-19 cases and 87 fatalities, taking the infection count to 44,077 and toll to 842, the state health department said.
Against the forecast of 25,000 active coronavirus cases by 15 August by the state's COVID War Room, there were 25,839 active cases in the state today including 540 in the ICUs, a department bulletin said.
Most of the deaths occurred in Bengaluru (56), a single-day highest for the city.
In the meantime, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation on Tuesday said that around 80 "workers associated with the Metro Rail work" in the city have tested positive for the virus, News18 reported.
"Most of those infected are migrant workers from different parts of the country," the report added.
Besides Karnataka, states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have already announced area-wise lockdown for different durations.
West Bengal on Tuesday extended the "total" lockdown in the state's containment zones till 19 July with directions to give "special attention" to enforcement of lockdown restriction in containment zones in Kolkata and five north Bengal urban hotspots".
West Bengal had imposed strict lockdown in containment areas and nearby buffer zones from 9 July evening.
These zones are located in and around Kolkata, besides Jalpaiguri, Malda, Cooch Behar, Raiganj and Siliguri.
Sikkim also imposed total lockdown in Rongli and Pakyong sub-divisions from 6 AM on Wednesday.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Gwalior administration imposed a week-long lockdown after the city reported 191 cases in a single day.
The restrictions kicked in at 7 pm on Tuesday, according to a report in News18. However, state home minister Dr Narottam Mishra clarified that there was no proposal to impose total lockdown in the state and it was up to district crisis management committees to take the decision locally.
India testing two indigenous vaccine candidates, says ICMR
ICMR director general Dr Balram Bhargava on Tuesday said that there are two Indian indigenous candidate vaccines, and are expected to start early phase human trials this month.
"They have undergone successful toxicity studies in rats, mice and rabbits. Data was submitted to DCGI following which both these got clearance to start early phase human trials early this month. These candidate have got their sites ready and they are doing their clinical study on approximately 1,000 human volunteers each at different sites," he added.
'India's per million deaths among lowest in the world'
The health ministry also said Tuesday that the total recovered cases of COVID-19 are about 1.8 times the number of active cases.
"In many states, the number of daily discharges from hospitals is more than the number of daily admission," Bhushan said.
Responding to a question on the fatality rate, he said the national rate is 2.6 per cent and it is coming down rapidly.
"Compared to the global case, fatality rate it is significantly lower," he added.
"India's COVID-19 cases and deaths per million in India is amongst the lowest in the world," Bhushan said, noting that India has 657 cases per million population as against 1,638 globally and 17.2 deaths per million as against 73 globally.
Asked how the government is calculating the recovery rate, Bhushan said it is done based on the total number of people who were hospitalised.
For the term hospitalised, there are two categories -- those who came to formal COVID care centres or COVID care health facilities or dedicated COVID hospitals and secondly those who were advised home isolation.
"So both are then covered by the discharge policy that the ministry issues from time to time and that is how we show the recovered cases," he explained.
People who are in home isolation are monitored in two ways. There are groups of paramedical workers and volunteers who are given the responsibility to check physically on these people on a daily basis and based on a standard template a decision is taken whether the home isolation should continue or the patient be shifted to a COVID care facility, he said.
The second way of monitoring such patients is through telephone calls. There are dedicated health homecare agencies which are also given the same standardised checklist and based on phone calls to the patient they do this tracking.
Delhi sero-survey to take more time, says health ministry
Asked when Delhi's sero-survey findings will be made public, Bhushan said these surveys are fairly complex exercises and therefore by definition take time.
In the case of Delhi, it was initially decided that sero-surveillance will take 20,000 samples from 26 June till 5 July but the sero surveillance ended up taking 22,800 odd samples, these are blood samples which are then subjected to ELISA test.
This was done till 5 July then testing was done now the testing has finished. Presently different kinds of stratification like gender specification, age stratification, district-wise stratification of data and analysis is being done.
"The moment it is complete and reviewed internally and shared with ICMR and other domain experts, it will be shared," Bhushan said.
With inputs from PTI
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