India inoculates 1.08 cr, reports COVID 'upsurge' in five states; Karnataka mandates test for visitors from Kerala, Maharashtra

Overall, India reported 13,993 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours as the total number of cases went up to 1,09,77,387, according to health ministry data

FP Staff February 20, 2021 23:29:14 IST
India inoculates 1.08 cr, reports COVID 'upsurge' in five states; Karnataka mandates test for visitors from Kerala, Maharashtra

A medical worker inoculates a colleague with a Covid-19 vaccine in Kolkata. AFP

In the face of a sudden rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, several states have imposed fresh restrictions on public movement to ward off a possible second wave of the pandemic. The Maharashtra government has resorted to weekend curfews in places like Amravati and Akola while Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, Nagpur, Wardha, Yavatmal and Buldhana are facing increased vigilance of adherence to health norms. The state of Karnataka has mandated a negative RT-PCR certificate, not
older than 72 hours, for those arriving in the state from Maharashtra and Kerala.

Kerala, which also saw a steep rise in cases, wrote a letter to the Centre asking for permission for health workers in the state to get another opportunity to register for the vaccine and for the release of more doses to inoculate the next priority group.

Overall, India reported 13,993 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours as the total number of cases went up to 1,09,77,387, according to health ministry data. The toll rose to 1,56,212, with 101 new deaths, while the number of active cases in the country stood at 1,43,127.

Meanwhile, the Union government said  that the vaccination drive was underway in full-swing and has stayed on track, meeting all major benchmarks so far. The Indian government said it has administered at least one dose to 1.08 crore people, while globally 20 crore people have been inoculated so far.

Surge in new cases in 5 states

Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have recorded an "upsurge" in daily new cases of COVID-19 , the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.

In a statement, the ministry said in the last seven days, Chhattisgarh has also seen a rise in daily active new cases. In the last 24 hours, 259 daily new cases have been reported, it said.

Kerala continues to report a high number of daily new cases and in the past week, Maharashtra has exhibited a spike in the number of daily new cases, accounting for the highest number of daily new cases in the country on Saturday, the ministry said in the statement.

Punjab has also shown a sudden spike in the number of daily new cases reported in the last seven days with 383 fresh cases recorded in the last 24 hours.

"Since 13 February, Madhya Pradesh is also witnessing a rise in the number of daily new cases. In the last 24 hours, 297 daily new cases have been registered in the state," the ministry said.

Only two states, Maharashtra and Kerala, account for 75.87 percent of total number of active COVID-19 cases, the ministry added.

The ministry said 18 states/UTs have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. These are Telangana, Haryana, J&K (UT), Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Ladakh (UT), Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu .

Maharashtra reports more than 6,000 cases

Maharashtra reported more than 6,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row on Saturday, a health department official said. Out of 6,281 new cases, over 1,700 or about 27 percent were recorded in Mumbai and Amravati municipal corporation areas, the official added.

The state had recorded over 6,000 cases after a gap of three months on Friday.

While the caseload increased to 20,93,913 on Saturday, the toll from the virus increased to 51,753 with 40 new fatalities.

State capital Mumbai recorded the highest 897 new infections, followed by Amravati city in eastern Maharashtra with 806 new cases. As many as 2,567 patients were discharged, increasing the tally of recoveries to 19,92,530. Active cases stood at 48,439.

Following the rise in cases, the state government has resorted to weekend lockdowns in Amroha and Akola.

Yavatmal is under a partial lockdown till 28 February and public gatherings are not allowed in Nagpur; in Wardha, all shops and marketplaces are ordered to shut down by 9 pm.

New rules for travelling to Maharashtra, Karnataka

The government of Karnataka announced fresh restrictions for travellers today.

The state government has mandated a negative RT-PCR certificate that is not older than 72 hours for those arriving in the state by flights, buses, trains and personal transport from Maharashtra, following the recent spike in COVID cases there.

The report shall be verified at the time of boarding by airline staff, a circular issued by the Additional Chief Secretary Department of Health and Family Welfare Jawaid Akhtar said.

In addition to this, the state government has said those who have arrived from Maharashtra in the past two weeks (colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, hostel, hotel, lodge etc) in Karnataka shall compulsorily be subjected to RT-PCR test.

"All those arriving from Maharashtra and checking into hotels, resorts, hostels, homestays, dormitories, etc, shall compulsorily produce a negative RT-PCR  certificate that is not older than 72 hours," the circular said. It said owners of these places should ensure that the occupants produce negative RT-PCR certificates.

In a similar circular, Karnataka, earlier this week had issued new guidelines mandating all those coming from Kerala to the state to carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours

Likewise, Maharashtra already has some travel restrictions in place. The state government has mandated a negative report of the RT-PCR test for travellers entering the state from Gujarat, Delhi-NCR, Goa, Rajasthan and Kerala. Those who will not be carrying a negative report will be checked and if they display symptoms, then they will have to undergo an antigen test. Passengers arriving by road will also be screened at the state border.

1.08 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses administered so far

A total of 1.08 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered till now with 1.86 lakh jabs given on Saturday, the Union Health Ministry said.

Of the 1,08,38,323 doses administered, Joint Secretary in the Union Health ministry Mandeep Bhandari said 72,26,653 vaccination doses were administered to healthcare workers and 36,11,670 to frontline workers whose inoculation started on 2 February.

Of the 70,52,845 vaccination doses, 63,52,713 healthcare workers were administered the first dose while 8,73,940 healthcare workers were administered the second dose. On Saturday till 6 pm, 1,86,081 vaccinations were carried out.

He said 43 hospitalisations have been reported till now out of which 26 people have been discharged after treatment while one is under treatment and 16 deaths have been reported.

Bhandari said the hospitalisation percentage against vaccination was recorded at 0.0004 percent and two cases of hospitalisation have been reported in the past 24 hours.

He said a total of 37 deaths have been reported which accounts for 0.0003 percent of the vaccinations. Sixteen deaths have been reported in hospitals while 21 deaths have been reported outside hospitals.

World tops 200 million vaccine doses, reports AFP

The number of coronavirus vaccine doses administered worldwide passed 20 crore Saturday, an AFP count showed, as wealthy G7 countries pledged to more than double aid to support access for the less well-off.

With 45 percent of injections so far among the rich club — which accounts for just 10 percent of the global population — the G7 on Friday said its aid to projects like the World Health Organization's COVAX now amount to $7.5 billion.

The increased pledges from the US, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Japan and Canada came as permanent UN Security Council member Britain showed a draft resolution to other countries on the global body, calling for wealthy nations to share doses with poor and war-torn states.

Meanwhile, Russia pressed ahead with its home-grown vaccination programme, saying 1,20,000 doses of its third authorised coronavirus vaccine, CoviVac, will reach people by March, following in the footsteps of the Sputnik V and EpiVacCorona shots.

The new vaccine, still in final stage clinical trials, was produced by the state-run Chumakov Centre based in Moscow and employed a different method of development from Sputnik and EpiVacCorona, using an inactive virus.

With inputs from agencies

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