COVID-19 cases in India saw the biggest spike for the third consecutive day on Sunday with 6,767 new infections reported in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 1,31,868, while the death toll due to the disease rose to 3,867 after 147 more fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry.
The government on Saturday said health infrastructure needed to be ramped up to ensure preparedness for the next two months in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This was conveyed to eleven municipal areas that accounted for 70% of India’s coronavirus case load during a high-level review meeting, a PIB press release said.
In the past week, the country has seen record spikes in number of COVID-19 cases reported by the Union health ministry every day.
May 18 — 5,242 cases, 157 deaths
May 19 — 4,970 cases, 134 deaths
May 20 — 5,611 cases, 140 deaths
May 21 — 5,614 cases, 140 deaths
May 22 — 6,088 cases, 148 deaths
May 23 — 6,654 cases, 137 deaths
May 24 — 6,767 cases, 147 deaths
Of the total death toll of 3,867, Maharashtra tops the tally with 1,577 deaths, followed by Gujarat at 829, Madhya Pradesh at 281, West Bengal at 269 and Delhi at 231.
More than 70% of the deaths are due to comorbidities, according to the ministry’s website.
The highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 47,190 followed by Tamil Nadu at 15,512, Gujarat at 13,664 and Delhi at 12,910.
There are 6,742 coronavirus cases in Rajasthan, 6,371 in Madhya Pradesh and 6,017 in Uttar Pradesh. The number of infections has gone up to 3,459 in West Bengal, 2,757 in Andhra Pradesh and 2,380 in Bihar.
Eleven municipal areas from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan account for 70% of the active caseload, the Union health ministry said in a statement.
Must gear for at least two more months of COVID-19, govt says
The government has asked the eleven municipal areas to step up monitoring in old cities, urban slums and other high density pockets like camps and clusters for migrant workers for management of COVID-19 cases.
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan, who held a high-level meeting on Saturday through video conferencing with principal health secretaries and municipal commissioners along with other officials from the 11 municipal areas, urged them to focus on prevention through active screening of high risk and vulnerable population along with effective and sturdy clinical management of the admitted cases to reduce fatality rate.
During the meeting on Saturday, a presentation was made to highlight the trend in case trajectory with respect to total confirmed cases, case fatality rate, doubling time, tests per million and confirmation percentage, the ministry said.
“It was told that a major challenge lies in those corporations having shorter doubling time, higher mortality rate and a higher confirmation rate than the national average,” the ministry said in its statement.
It was pointed out that testing needs to be stepped up in some municipal areas to ensure early detection of cases, timely clinical management and a reduction in fatality rate.
“They also need to be mindful of ramping up the health infrastructure to ensure preparedness for the next two months with special focus on isolation beds with oxygen, ventilators and ICU beds,” the health ministry statement said.
Other issues that need focused attention include active coordination with government and private labs to address delays in sample collection, partnership with private hospitals to augment the health/bed capacity, waste disposal and disinfection of COVID positive areas, management of camps for migrant labourers, creating awareness regarding issues such as stigmatization of patients and medical professionals in local languages, actively involving community leaders, youth groups, NGOs and SHGs in accompanying surveillance teams for awareness and confidence building measures, it said.
The officials were also urged to focus on prevention through active screening of high risk and vulnerable population and groups, and effective and sturdy clinical management of the admitted cases to reduce fatality rate.
While many have operationalised 24x7 state control rooms, others could also follow the lead and start such units which shall not only provide assistance to the people regarding various facilities and services for COVID-19 management, but also have a panel of domain experts and doctors to provide round the clock support and mentoring for clinical issues, the statement said.
(With PTI inputs)