India's tally of COVID-19 cases rises to 3,66,946 with 12,881 new cases; antigen-based testing begins at 169 centres in Delhi

The COVID-19 testing strategy was expanded with the launch of a rapid antigen-based diagnostic tool in Delhi

FP Staff June 18, 2020 23:51:12 IST
India's tally of COVID-19 cases rises to 3,66,946 with 12,881 new cases; antigen-based testing begins at 169 centres in Delhi

A single-day jump of 12,881 COVID-19 cases took India's tally to 3,66,946 on Thursday, while the toll climbed to 12,237 with 334 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

From 1 to 18 June, the country saw a surge of 1,76,411 coronavirus cases with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh remaining among the top ten states accounting for the rising tally of COVID-19.

The number of active cases as on Thursday stands at 1,60,384, while 1,94,324 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, according to the updated figure at 8 am.

However, on Thursday, the testing strategy was expanded with the launch of a rapid antigen-based diagnostic tool in Delhi, amid an assertion by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the country is not going to "sit and wail" over the coronavirus crisis.

Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan also launched the first mobile laboratory for coronavirus diagnosis which can be deployed in rural areas and help in promoting last-mile testing.

Indias tally of COVID19 cases rises to 366946 with 12881 new cases antigenbased testing begins at 169 centres in Delhi

Representational image. PTI

Antigen-based testing begins

Meanwhile, the Delhi government Thursday started rapid antigen-based testing in 169 centres in and around containment zones of the city. A total of 341 teams are involved in the testing process, an official said.

According to PTI, the new rapid antigen-based test on swabbed nasal samples will allow infected patients to be diagnosed much faster, at lower rates and without laboratory examination.

It will help cover a large population in a short span of time and with quick results authorities can modify their strategies accordingly, the news agency said.

According to Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, the Centre plans to conduct six lakh rapid antigen tests at these 169 facilities.

"Two important things happened today. COVID-19 testing rates in Delhi have been reduced to Rs 2,400 and rapid-antigen testing has started. I hope people won't face any problem in getting themselves tested now," tweeted Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

A healthcare worker at one of the testing centres said that each testing kit costs Rs 450 and can provide results within 30 minutes as compared to RT-PCR test that takes three to four hours in laboratory conditions.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), suspected individuals who test negative for COVID-19 by rapid-antigen test should undergo RT-PCR test to rule out the infection while positive test results should be considered as true positive and do not need reconfirmation by RT-PCR test.

Vardhan said the first mobile lab for COVID-19 testing also called I-Lab or Infectious Diseases Diagnostics Lab, can run 50 RT-PCR and about 200 ELISA tests in a day(both blood-based tests). A double set of machines can help increase the capacity to about 500 tests per day in 8-hour shift, he said.

State-wise cases and deaths

Of the 334 new deaths reported till Thursday morning, 114 were in Maharashtra, 67 in Delhi, 48 in Tamil Nadu, 27 in Gujarat, 18 in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Harynana, 11 in West Bengal, eight in Karnataka, six each in Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, five in Rajasthan, three in Bihar, two each in Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh.

Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Puducherry, Telangana and Uttarakhand reported one COVID-19 fatality each.

Of the total 12,237 deaths reported so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest 5,651 fatalities followed by Delhi with 1,904 deaths, Gujarat with 1,560, Tamil Nadu with 576, West Bengal with 506, Madhya Pradesh with 482, Uttar Pradesh with 435, Rajasthan with 313 and Telangana with 192 deaths.

The COVID-19 death toll reached 130 in Haryana, 102 in Karnataka, 90 in Andhra Pradesh, 78 in Punjab, 65 in Jammu and Kashmir, 44 in Bihar, 26 in Uttarakhand, 20 in Kerala and 11 in Odisha.

Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have registered 10 deaths each, while Assam and Himachal Pradesh have recorded 8 deaths each.

Puducherry has reported 7 deaths, Chandigarh 6 while Meghalaya, Tripura and Ladakh have reported 1 fatality each, according to the Health Ministry.

Maharashtra has reported maximum number of cases at 1,16,752 followed by Tamil Nadu at 50,193, Delhi at 47,102, Gujarat at 25,093, Uttar Pradesh at 14,598, Rajasthan at 13,542 and West Bengal at 12,300, according to the health ministry's data.

The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 11,244 in Madhya Pradesh, 8,832 in Haryana, 7,734 in Karnataka, 7,071 in Andhra Pradesh and 6,942 in Bihar.

It has risen to 5,675 in Telangana, 5,406 in Jammu and Kashmir, 4,605 in Assam and 4,338 in Odisha. Punjab has reported 3,497 novel coronavirus cases so far, while Kerala has 2,697 cases.

A total of 2,023 people have been infected by the virus in Uttarakhand, 1,895 in Jharkhand, 1,864 in Chhattisgarh, 1,135 in Tripura, 687 in Ladakh, 656 in Goa, 569 in Himachal Pradesh and 552 in Manipur.

Chandigarh has registered 368 COVID-19 cases, Puducherry has 245 cases, Nagaland has 193, Mizoram has 121, Arunachal Pradesh has 99, Sikkim has 70, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu together have reported 57 COVID-19 cases.

Meghalaya and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have registered 44 infections each so far.

Indian economy to contract by 4 percent in 2021-22: ADB

In the meantime, the Asian Development Bank said in a supplement to its the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) that the Indian economy is expected to contract by 4 percent during the current financial year.

Countries in developing Asia will "barely grow" in 2020, as per the ADB forecast.

China, however, is expected to record a positive growth of 1.8 percent in 2020, sharply down from 6.1 percent in 2019, said the ADO.

"Growth in Indian GDP slowed to 3.1 percent in the last quarter of fiscal year 2019 (FY2019, ended 31 March 2020), its slowest since early 2003. Economic growth slowed to 4.2 percent in the whole of FY2019 as both exports and investment started to contract," the report said.

"High-frequency indicators such as purchasing managers' indexes fell to all-time lows in April, reflecting the bleak outlook. Migrant workers have gone home to their villages after losing their jobs in the cities and will be slow to return even after containment measures are relaxed. GDP is expected to contract by 4.0 percent in FY2020 before rebounding by 5.0 percent in FY2021," it added.

Global picture

Europe grappled with local spikes in coronavirus infections as the continent's lockdown restrictions eased, after hundreds of cases were found at one meatpacking plant in Germany, and Greece had to impose a total seven-day lockdown on one village.

The developments came even as a new outbreak in Beijing saw a decline in daily cases and Hong Kong Disneyland reopened after a major drop in infections.

In western Germany, health officials in Guetersloh on Wednesday said the number of new COVID-19 cases linked to the Toennies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck had risen to 657, a significant regional spike for a country that has recorded daily nationwide infections in the low hundreds lately.

In neighbouring Turkey, authorities made wearing masks mandatory in three major cities, including the financial hub of Istanbul and the capital of Ankara, following an increase in confirmed cases since many businesses were allowed to reopen.

The United States, meanwhile, has been increasing pressure on China's leaders to reveal what they know about the pandemic. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “stressed the need for full transparency and information sharing to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and prevent future outbreaks,” the US State Department said about his meeting with the Communist Party's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi.

With inputs from agencies

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