Here’s a snapshot of the Covid-19 situation in the country …
Five states account for 82% of cases
India on Saturday reported 18,327 fresh cases of coronavirus and 108 deaths.
States like Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu continue to lead the coronavirus surge in the country, accounting for nearly 82% of the new cases reported in the last 24 hours.
Similarly, most of these states accounted for over 85% of daily new deaths.
Overall, eight states — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana — are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, according to the Union health ministry.
Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 10,216, followed by Kerala with 2,776 while Punjab reported 808 new cases.
High-level teams rushed to Maharashtra, Punjab
With both Maharashtra and Punjab witnessing a steady surge in infections, the Centre on Saturday sent high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams to these states to assist them with Covid surveillance, control and containment measures.
The teams are expected to visit the hotspot areas in the states to ascertain the reasons behind the surge.
Both the states have witnessed a nearly four-fold increase in daily infections since the beginning of February. Punjab had reported 192 cases on February 1 while Maharashtra logged 2,585 infections. On March 6, Punjab reported 808 fresh cases while Maharashtra’s count crossed 10,200.
Active cases down in three states
India’s total number of active cases has now risen above 1,80,304, a sharp rebound after dipping below the 1.5-lakh mark on February 23.
Six states — Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana — have reported a rise in active cases over the last 24 hours.
However, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu have shown a reduction in the active caseload.
As many as 21 states/UTs have less than a 1,000 active cases in the country while 18 states/UTs have not reported any Covid-related deaths in the last 24 hours. This indicates that the surge is restricted to a handful of states so far.
‘Test, track, treat’
Meanwhile, the Centre has asked states and union territories witnessing a surge in infections and high active caseload to continue with the strategy of “test, track and treat” that had yielded rich dividends at the height of the pandemic.
It has also urged these states to accelerate vaccination for priority population groups in districts reporting higher infections on mission mode.
In a meeting held on Saturday, they have been asked to collaborate with private hospitals to open up vaccination time-table for a minimum of 15 days and maximum of 28 days at a time.
They have been asked to increase the share of RT-PCR tests in districts dependent on high levels of antigen testing, refocus on surveillance and stringent containment of those areas in selected districts which are seeing cluster of cases and carry out an average close contact tracing of minimum of 20 persons per positive case.
Vaccinations pick up pace
Despite staring at a fresh surge in cases, India’s resolve to combat the virus is bolstering every day with the nationwide vaccination drive gathering pace.
Nearly 15 lakh people were inoculated against coronavirus on March 5, the highest in a day so far, taking the total number of vaccine doses administered in the country to over 1.94 crore, reported PTI quoting official sources.
As on Day 49 (March 5) of the vaccination drive, a total of 14,92,201 COVID-19 vaccine doses were given. Out of which, 11,99,848 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 18,333 sessions for the first dose (HCWs and FLWs), and 2,92,353 HCWs and FLWs received the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, health ministry said.
These beneficiaries (11,99,848) include 1,10,857 individuals, aged between 45-60 years, having specified comorbidities, and 7,61,355 people aged above 60 years.
(With inputs from agencies)