India's COVID-19 count crosses 85 lakh; Delhi has hit peak of third wave, cases to drop soon, says Satyendar Jain

Delhi, which has been reporting a fresh surge in coronavirus cases amid the festive season and deteriorating air quality, is witnessing the worst wave since the pandemic's arrival in the city, said the health minister

FP Staff November 08, 2020 21:45:01 IST
India's COVID-19 count crosses 85 lakh; Delhi has hit peak of third wave, cases to drop soon, says Satyendar Jain

File image of a health worker taking a nasal swab sample at a COVID-19 testing centre in Hyderabad. AP

India's coronavirus case count on Sunday went past 85 lakh with 45,674 infections being reported in a day, while the toll climbed to 1,26,121 with 559 more succumbing to the disease, the health ministry said.

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Delhi, health minister Satyendar Jain said the National Capital has hit the peak of the third wave of infections and cases will go down soon.

In Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hinted that temples will be allowed to re-open for devotees after Diwali and also warned that the state could not afford to have a second wave, as was seen happening across the world.

The COVID-19 tally in the country had crossed 20 lakh on 7 August, 30 lakh on 23 August and 40 lakh on 5 September. It went past 50 lakh on 16 September, 60 lakh on 28 September, 70 lakh on  11 October and crossed 80 lakh on 29 October.

Globally, the virus has infected 4, 99,68,373 people so far and has claimed 12, 52,427 lives, as per the John Hopkin's University's coronavirus tracker.

In India, the trend of single-day COVID-19 recoveries outnumbering daily new cases continued with 49,082 patients having recuperated from the disease in 24 hours, taking the total recoveries to 78.68 lakh which now exceed the active infections by 73,56,303, the health ministry said.

"New daily cases have been trending downward since 15 October," the ministry claimed.

Kerala reports highest single-day cases, recoveries

The total COVID-19 cases surged in the country surged to 85,07,754 but the recovery rate also improved to 92,49 percent, the Union health ministry's data updated at 8 am showed.  The case-fatality rate now stands at 1.48 percent.

Numbering 5,12,665, active cases of COVID-19 remained below six lakh for the tenth consecutive day and these comprise 6.03 percent of the total caseload, the data showed.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 11,77,36,791 samples have been tested for the novel coronavirus infection up to 7 November, of which 11,94,487 samples were tested on Saturday.

Kerala overtook Maharashtra in terms of the maximum recoveries recorded in a single-day. A total of 7,120 people recovered in Kerala in the 24 hours between 8 am on Saturday and Sunday, followed by 6,478 in Maharashtra, as per the ministry's data.

It further said that 76 percent of the new cases are from 10 states and UTs, with Kerala reporting the highest of 7,201 cases in 24 hours followed by Delhi with 6,953 cases. Maharashtra came a distant third with 3,959 new cases yesterday.

Ten states and UTs account for nearly 79 percent of the 559 fatalities, the ministry said. More than 26.8 percent of the daily deaths reported are from Maharashtra (150 deaths). Delhi and West Bengal follow with 79 and 58 new deaths, respectively.

Third wave in Delhi worst since pandemic began, says Jain

Delhi, which has been reporting a fresh surge in coronavirus cases amid the festive season and deteriorating air quality, is witnessing the worst wave since the pandemic's arrival in the city, said health minister Jain.

The AAP leader however said that cases were likely to come down soon as the National Capital has hit the peak of the third wave. Jain, who is on an official visit to Dungarpur in Rajasthan, said the first wave had hit its peak around 23 June and the second on 17 September.

"The third wave of COVID-19 is at its peak in Delhi. The number of cases suggests it is the worst wave so far. But the cases will come down soon," Jain told reporters.

He said the government had no plans yet to rope in hotels and banquet halls to augment the bed capacity for COVID-19 patients as the AAP dispensation had increased the number of beds in hospitals of Delhi.

On Friday, Delhi recorded over 7,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time. The city on Saturday reported 79 deaths, the highest number of fatalities in over four months.

The minister cited aggressive testing and contact-tracing among reasons for the sudden spike in the number of cases being reported.
Jain, however, said laxity on the part of the people has also been a major reason behind the surge.

"Some people think nothing will happen to them if they don't wear a mask. They are wrong. Mask is the only medicine for COVID-19 till a vaccine is developed," he added.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too had on Friday urged Delhiites to make wearing masks a movement to arrest the spread of COVID-19 and said that like the previous two waves of coronavirus , the third one would end soon in Delhi.

"Till there is a vaccine for corona, consider face masks as the vaccine. These are the biggest protection against COVID-19 infection. We need to promote wearing face masks as a movement," he had said.

Maharashtra can't afford second wave, says Thackeray

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked people not to lower their guards cautioning that although the cases were going down in the state, the pandemic was far from over. He said several countries were facing the second wave of coronavirus now, but the state cannot afford to have another such wave.

"The state government has so far relaxed several curbs. But the use of face masks is a must and it should continue for a longer period for the safety of people. We have to make sure that no second wave hits us," the chief minister said.

Earlier in the day, Thackeray also hinted at reopening places of religious worship, saying a standard operating procedure for avoiding crowds and ensuring physical distancing there will be drafted after Diwali.

In a virtual address, Thackeray said he is getting flak for going slow on reopening of places of religious worship and was "ready for brickbats if it ensures good health and safety of citizens".

"We are so involved in offering prayers and may neglect COVID-19 safety protocols. What if a coronavirus positive person infects senior citizens from our families who visit the places of worship," he asked.

Thackeray said the wearing of masks will be mandatory in places of worship. He also appealed to people to avoid bursting firecrackers in public places.

"Let us have self-control and restrain from bursting firecrackers which will lead to pollution. Let us not waste nine months' of hard work
against the pandemic during four days of Diwali celebrations," he said and referred to the surge in Delhi which he said was due to pollution.

Thackeray also warned against complacency in following COVID-19 safety norms, stating that the fortnight after Diwali would be crucial

"The forthnight after Diwali will be crucial. Let us not invite a second lockdown. If a coronavirus positive person moves in a crowd without wearing a face mask, he will infect around 400 persons and those 400 will in turn infect several more," he said.

"We have no option but to wear masks, ensure physical distancing and continue washing hands till a vaccine is found," he further said.

In Tamil Nadu too, Chief Secretary K Shanmugham stressed on the need to wear face masks, saying that the coming days will be challenging in view of the festive season.

Briefing reporters in Coimbatore after reviewing various developmental schemes and COVID-19 situation, Shanmugham said the number of infections was more in villages and there was a need to ramp up testing in districts.

Tamil Nadu on Sunday reported 2,334 new COVID-19 infections pushing the overall tally to 7.43 lakh while the toll rose to  11,344 with 20
fatalities.

The daily recoveries stood at 2,386, taking the total number of recoveries to 7.13 lakh till date, a health department bulletin said. Active cases including those in isolation were at 18,894.

With inputs from PTI

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