6 Month high in number of Covid cases

Deaths swelled by 188, the highest figure in two months, to stand at 159,044. India has the world’s highest tally of infections after the United States and Brazil…reports Asian Lite News

The daily corona virus infections jumped by 28,903 on Wednesday, data from the health ministry showed. This is the highest increase since December 13 taking the nationwide tally to 11.44 million.

Deaths swelled by 188, the highest figure in two months, to stand at 159,044. India has the world’s highest tally of infections after the United States and Brazil.

Nearly 62% of infections in the past 24 hours and 46% of the deaths were reported by Maharashtra, the country’s worst affected. The Centre has blamed crowding and a general reluctance to wear masks for the spike, ruling out the virus mutations that have been a factor in Western countries. Maharashtra, home to India’s commercial capital of Mumbai, is among the states that have already tightened rules to curb the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, in light of the increase in the number of cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to hold a video conference with chief ministers today to assess the Covid-19 situation in the country as well as the vaccination drive.

As many as 40 frontline workers have been vaccinated for coronavirus at a naval hospital in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam on Saturday.”Covishield vaccine was given to 40 frontline Covid warriors including doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, health workers, ward sahayakas and medical attendants at INHS Kalyani, Visakhapatnam,” said a city-based defence official.

PM Modi’s last interaction with chief ministers was in January before the vaccination roll-out. He had announced that the Centre will bear the expenses of vaccinating nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first round and suggested that public representatives, a reference to politicians, should not be part of this initial exercise.

The announcement comes in the backdrop of states such as Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu continuing to report a surge in Covid-19 daily cases, accounting for 78.41 per cent of the new cases, the Union Health Ministry said.

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Fifteen of the 19 districts in India with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the last ten days are in Maharashtra, which is grappling with an alarming spike in Covid cases. The state is “in the beginning of a second wave of Covid,” the Centre told the Uddhav Thackeray-led government.

According to government data, nearly 1,000 new cases have been registered every day for the past ten days in Pune, Nagpur, and Mumbai. Nagpur, which is lockdown for a week since Monday, has seen 20,104 cases in the last ten days, compared to Pune’s 26,218 and Mumbai’s 11,859 in the same time.

Karnataka issues warning

Meanwhile, Karnataka Health Minister D. Sudhakar has warned of taking tough measures to contain Covid spread in the state if people violate the guidelines.

“We will take tough measures if Covid guidelines like wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and hygiene are not followed by people,” he said.

Alarmed over surging cases in some districts across the state over the last 10 days, the minister said the state government issued advertisements in the media to create awareness for complying with the guidelines to reduce the caseload.

“Primary healthcare centres have been directed to conduct 100 tests a day and state-run general hospitals 500 tests per day to check the positivity rate,” said Sudhakar, who is a medical doctor by profession.

Manish Kumar (34) was oozing with confidence and satisfaction, which he had not experienced before, after taking the first jab of Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here, becoming the first person in the country to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

The state Health Department has mandated hospitals to trace at least 20 primary and secondary contacts for every infected person to contain the virus spread.

With Covid cases surging in neighbouring states like Maharashtra, border districts of Karnataka have been witnessing a rise in positive cases of late.

“Though 15 lakh people have been vaccinated till date across the state, the drive is being stepped up to protect more people, especially senior citizens above 60 years of age and those with comorbidities in the 45-59 age group,” he said.

With 1,135 new cases registered on Monday, the state’s Covid tally shot up to 9,62,339, including 9,428 positive cases, while recoveries rose to 9,40,489, with 561 patients discharged during the day.

Bengaluru reported 710 fresh cases on Monday, taking its Covid tally to 4,12,699 with 6,832 active cases.

Covid-induced deaths were, however, only 6 across the state, including 3 in Bengaluru during the last 24 hours.

“We will enforce stringent measures to reduce the cases from Thursday after reviewing the situation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday through video conferencing,” added Sudhakar.

Lockdown not necessary, says Yogi

Despite surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state, the Yogi Adityanath government has ruled out any night curfew and lockdown in any part of the state.

UP Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh said that the government machinery is concentrating more on the preventive steps like focus and contact/target testing to arrest the cases before it takes an alarming proposition.

He said that the Integrated Control and Command Centre of the Health department has been put on the high alert to monitor the situation.

“In view of Holi festival, air travellers and other passengers coming from outside will be tested at the airport, railway platforms and bus stations. Directions have been issued to make micro containment zones within an area of 250 metres even if one case was reported from any part,” he said.

He said that the situation in Uttar Pradesh is not as alarming as in other states so there is no need to impose any night curfew or lockdown.

People in the state, however, are being advised to follow the Covid-19 protocol and guidelines.

The police and district authorities have been directed to ensure that people wear masks when in the public and maintain social distancing.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asked health officials to adopt a two-pronged strategy to deal with the surge in Covid-19 cases.

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