New Delhi, Mar 18
With a huge spike of 35,871 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily rise since early December, India continues to see a surge in Covid caseload. The Government yesterday said a total of 70 districts in 16 States have seen an increase of more than 150 per cent in active cases between March 1 and 15.
Amid a worrying rise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a meeting with Chief Ministers. Decisive steps like management of micro-containment zones and strict enforcement of restrictions were necessary to stop what he called the "emerging second peak" of Covid. More than 1.14 crore cases have been recorded by India so far; 1.59 lakh people have died.
Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:
PM Modi on Wednesday said "some areas are seeing more of a surge than others" and asked the States to focus on the issue. "If we don't stop this right now, then there could be a situation of a Nationwide outbreak. We have to immediately stop the emerging second peak and take big and decisive steps," PM Modi told the Chief Ministers.
India has been logging more than 20,000 cases everyday since last week. Yesterday, the Government data showed 28,903 Covid cases were logged in the previous 24 hours, 24 per cent lower than the latest surge. 172 deaths- linked to Covid-were logged in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, the country logged 188 deaths, the highest this week.
In the last 24 hours, Maharashtra logged 23,179 fresh cases, the highest rise in daily cases since September 17. With over 23 lakh cases logged since the beginning of pandemic, the State has the country's highest caseload. Sixty per cent of the country's active cases and 45.4 per cent of the fresh deaths are concentrated in Maharashtra, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
Kerala (2,098 fresh cases), Punjab (2,013 fresh cases), Karnataka (1,275 new cases) and Gujarat (1,122 cases) are other four States that saw the highest daily rise in cases in the last 24 hours.
India has been witnessing a surge in cases even as the Government focuses on stepping up vaccination drive. More than 3.64 crore doses of vaccines have been administered so far since the rollout began on January 16. However, India aims to vaccinate over 30 crore people by July.
COVID-19 vaccine wastage in India is 6.5 per cent, with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh recording 17.6 and 11.6 per cent wastage respectively, the Government warned on Wednesday.
"Vaccine wastage has to be drastically reduced. Any reduction in wastage means that you end up inoculating more people and therefore the chances of disrupting the chain of infection grow that much more," Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.
The Health Ministry today said it has tested 23,03,13,163 samples since the beginning of the pandemic; more than 10 lakh samples were tested yesterday.
Covid-19 appears likely to develop into a seasonal disease, the United Nations said Thursday, cautioning though against relaxing pandemic-related measures simply based on meteorological factors.
Worldwide, 12 crore cases have been recorded so far. The United States has logged 2.97 crore cases.
(NDTV With inputs from AFP)