Next 4 weeks very critical : Govt on second wave of Covid-19

The Union Health Ministry today said that the recent spike in coronavirus cases in India is spreading faster in the country compared to last year.
Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog said, "The impact of the pandemic has increased in the country. Warnings were given that the situation should not be taken for granted. The situation of the pandemic has worsened and the speed of increasing COVID-19 cases is higher than last time.
"We can still control the pandemic, people's participation vital to control second wave of pandemic, next four weeks very critical for us," Dr Paul said addressing a press conference.
"People's participation is vital to control the second wave. The next four weeks are going to very critical. The entire country has to come together and make efforts to fight the pandemic."
He said the number of coronavirus cases is increasing and along with that mortality is also on the rise.
On the other hand as many as 96,982 more people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative caseload to 1,26,86,049, said the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday morning.
This marks a slight decline in new infections but is still highest in six months.
Twelve States-Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Karnataka, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala-are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases.
Among these, Maharashtra continues to be the biggest contributor as the State saw 47,288 new Covid-19 cases and 155 deaths in the last 24 hours. At present, the fatality rate in the State stands at 1.83%.
In addition to this, 446 more people succumbed to the disease across the country in the same duration, taking the death toll to 1,65,547.
The fatality count has also reduced as compared to Monday, when it stood at 513. The number had climbed up to 714 on Saturday, the highest in nearly six months.
Dr VK Paul said the pandemic situation in the country worsened with a sharp rise in cases and a large part of the population is still susceptible to the virus. The tools to fight the pandemic remain the same. COVID-appropriate behaviour, containment measures, testing have to be implemented more efficiently, medical infrastructure has to be ramped up and vaccination drive intensified, he said.
COVID-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, staying away from crowds have to be followed in a campaign mode, Paul reminded people.
He further added, "Request people to get over vaccine hesitancy; nowhere in the world has vaccination been opened up for those above 45 years."
The daily rise in COVID-19 cases in India crossed the grim milestone of one-lakh from 20,000 infections in just 25 days, unlike last year when it took 76 days for daily cases to reach the then peak of 97,894 on September 17, reflecting the speed at which the virus is spreading.
The active caseload was at its lowest at 1, 35,926 on February 12 comprising 1.25 per cent of the total infections. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.
"11 States/Union Territories (UTs) were categorised as "States of grave concern" on account of their high and rising daily case and higher daily deaths. These have contributed 90 per cent of COVID cases (as on March 31) and 90.5 per cent of deaths (as on March 31) in the last 14 days, and have crossed/or close to crossing their early reported peaks during last year. The situation was particularly worrying in Maharashtra," said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MohFW).
"These States and UTs were advised to take up immediate and high effective measures to ensure containment of active cases and daily deaths through adherence to the standard clinical management protocol shared earlier with all States and UTs," it added.
The Union Health Secretary highlighted the current trajectory of COVID in the States/UTs, while Union Secretary (Information and Broadcasting) showcased ways of effective behavioural change communication to instill Covid appropriate behaviour among the populace.
After a detailed and comprehensive review of the measures taken by the States/UTs, the Cabinet Secretary reiterated the necessity of meticulous and hard work regarding stringent enforcement of containment and surveillance measures, in conjunction with ramping up vaccination and strict enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour.
NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul emphasised on the need for States to follow a protocol for sharing clinical and epidemiological data for a more detailed study of a mutant strain of the virus for genome sequencing. The Union Home Secretary pointed out that the 11 States and UTs that are showing a surge in daily Covid cases have not shown commensurate increase in enforcement of containment activities. He urged the Chief Secretaries and DGs (Police) of the States/UTs for taking appropriate strict action in this regard.             The Mint