NRC Coronavirus: With 41,642 cases, Maharashtra tops India's Covid tally

Coronavirus: With 41,642 cases, Maharashtra tops India’s Covid tally

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Covid-19 cases continued to rise across India at a very high rate as the nationwide tally reached beyond 1.12 lakh. However, the highest spike has been registered by Maharashtra, which alone accounts for nearly 35 per cent of Covid-19 cases and over 41 per cent deaths due to the virus.

In its most recent update, the Union health ministry placed the total number of cases at 1,12,359 and the death toll at 3,435. The ministry said that 45,300 people have so far recovered from the infection.

Mumbai, the financial capital of India, has over 25,000 cases of coronavirus. The city has registered nearly 900 deaths alone.

However, the Centre has claimed that India has it under control. The Union health ministry has said that India’s mortality rate from the virus is half than that of the world. The ICMR has also claimed that the testing, as well as health care facilities, have been significantly ramped up in India.

Despite the preparedness, there remains a danger of a fresh spike in cases due to Cyclone Amphan, which forced over 7 lakh people to abandon their homes and seek shelter in relief camps.

Meanwhile, the civil aviation ministry has announced the SOP for airlines, setting fresh rules for passengers and capping prices of air routes.

Nationwide tally

As per the Centre’s data, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 3,435 and the number of cases to 1,12,359 in the country by Thursday morning. In the last 24 hours since Wednesday morning, an increase of 132 deaths and 5,609 cases was registered, according to the Union Health Ministry.

However, a tally of data released by state governments put the total number of Covid-19 cases, as of 9.30 pm on Thursday, at 1,16,295 and death toll at 3,494. The total number of people recovered as per state tally is 47,487.

Around 40 per cent of patients have recovered so far, a senior health ministry official said.

As per data released by the state’s Maharashtra has recorded 41,642 cases of Covid-19 and the death toll stands at 1,454. However, the Union health ministry site currently puts Maharashtra figures at 39,297 and 1,390. The data on ministry’s site will be updated in the morning.

After Maharashtra, the highest death toll in India is recorded by Gujarat at 773 deaths, which is followed by Madhya Pradesh at 270, West Bengal at 181, Delhi at 194, Rajasthan at 150, Uttar Pradesh at 127, Tamil Nadu at 94 and Andhra Pradesh at 54.

The death toll reached 41 in Karnataka, 40 in Telangana and 38 in Punjab.

Jammu and Kashmir has reported 20 fatalities due to the disease and Haryana 15, while Bihar has registered 10 deaths and Odisha seven.

Assam and Himachal have reported four deaths each so far.

Jharkhand, Chandigarh and Kerala each have recorded three COVID-19 fatalities, while Meghalaya and Uttarakhand have reported one fatality each, according to the data provided by the health ministry.

India’s mortality rate half than the world

The mortality rate in COVID-19 cases in India is 3.06 per cent as against the global rate of 6.65, the Union health ministry said on Thursday. The ministry credited the efforts towards timely case identification and proper clinical management for the low mortality rate.

An analysis of the deaths show 64 per cent of the fatalities in males and the remaining 36 per cent in females, it said.

Providing an age distribution of the fatalities, the ministry said 0.5 per cent of deaths have been reported in the less than 15 years age group, 2.5 per cent between 15 and 30 years, 11.4 per cent in those aged between 30 and 45, 35.1 per cent between 45-60 years and 50.5 per cent fatalities among people aged above 60 years.

Further, 73 per cent of the deaths had underlying co-morbidities. Elderly people (above 60 years of age) and people having co-morbidities are identified as high-risk groups for COVID-19.

Testing, medical facilities ramped up during lockdown

The health ministry said the period of lockdown has been gainfully utilised to ramp up the health infrastructure, with around 3,027 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and 7,013 care centres being readied across the country to fight the disease.

As on date, 45,299 people have recovered from the coronavirus, taking the country’s recovery rate to 40.32 per cent, it said.

More than 2.81 lakh isolation beds, 31,250 ICU beds and 1,09,888 oxygen supported beds have already been identified in dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and health centres. Also, 6,50,930 isolation beds have been readied in COVID-19 care centres, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the ICMR said that for every positive COVID-19 test more than 20 negative tests have been done, asserting there has been a 1,000-fold increase in the quantum of tests per day in the last two months.

A total of 25,12,388 samples had been tested by 9 am of May 20, and the testing capacity has been scaled up to 1 lakh tests per day, it said.

Starting with less than 100 COVID-19 tests per day just two months ago, a 1,000-fold increase in just 60 days was made possible by dedicated teams from research institutions, medical colleges, testing laboratories, ministries, airlines and postal services working together, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said in a statement.

Businesses suffer as Delhi-NCR border remains closed

Economic activities may have resumed in the NCR during the much-relaxed lockdown 4.0, but the restrictions on the interstate movement of people have severely impacted the traders and professionals of the national capital and its satellite cities, their associations have said.

For those engaged in the essential services, commuting across the border seems a lesser hassle, but people in other sectors are finding it difficult to move between cities.

Those working in Delhi and residing in the satellite cities or vice-a-versa face an uphill task on daily basis as they try to reach their workplaces.

The neighbouring cities have sealed the borders with Delhi to check the spread of coronavirus.

Traders said the decision to restrict movement has hit several shop and showroom owners in Noida who reside in the national capital. They are unable to travel to their stores even though economic activities resumed on Thursday.

In some cases, traders live in Noida or Greater Noida and have their shops in Delhi. They are unable to go there due to the lockdown curbs, said Sushil Kumar Jain, the Convenor of the Delhi-NCR unit of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).

There’s a need for Delhi-NCR planners to take into account the situation and find a way to help movement of people and traders, Jain said.

Will cases see a spike in Odisha, West Bengal post-cyclone?

A possibility fo fresh spike in cases in Odisha and West Bengal has emerged after over 7 lakh people had to leave their houses and seek shelter in relief camps as Cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc. Even as NDRF has assured that social distancing norms were followed during evacuations, doctors have raised concerns that Covid-19 spread is far more likely at the shelter camps due to cramped spaces.

Senior medical practitioners at the frontline in the war against COVID-19 are apprehensive that the number of cases would rise substantially in the days ahead as the social-distancing norms would go up in smoke and there would be curbs on the spending to tackle the pandemic.

“The way the number of cases is going up in West Bengal, the cyclone will bring in catastrophe. At most of these shelter homes and camps, there is no scope for maintaining any form of social distancing. You can imagine the level of infection it will cause,” said a senior doctor of a government hospital, who did not wish to be named.

“We feel that the government spending on COVID response will come down in the days to come as funds will be needed for restoration. We had just crossed the one-lakh testing benchmark and we were moving in the right direction after a lot of mistakes. I feel this cyclone will derail everything,” another doctor of a private COVID-19 hospital said.

The doctors feel that with several parts of the state being waterlogged, cases of water-borne diseases are also likely to go up in the days to come, which will put additional pressure on the state’s health infrastructure, which is already stretched due to the COVID situation.

MHA notice to states over lockdown violations

The Centre on Thursday asked states to ensure strict implementation of lockdown and night curfew protocols, saying it has noticed violation of the restrictions at several places.

In a communication to all states and union territories, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked them to strictly ensure the prohibition of all non-essential activities between 7pm and 7am, saying the night curfew imposed to contain the coronavirus spread is an “important element of the Home Ministry guidelines”.

He said the night curfew has been imposed to ensure that people observe social distance.

Bhalla said the Home Ministry has noticed reports of violation of its guidelines at several places.

“I would like to emphasise that the MHA guidelines should be strictly implemented, and all authorities in states and UTs should take necessary steps to ensure the same,” he said.

These stipulations, such as wearing face covers, ensuring social distancing at work, transport and in public places, maintaining hygiene and sanitation etc., are important for containing the spread of COVID-19. “It is the duty of all district and local authorities to enforce the national directives,” he said.

Govt issues guidelines for domestic flight operation

About a third of operations will be allowed under strict norms when domestic flight services restart on Monday after a two-month hiatus and all the airlines will have to adhere to the upper and lower limits of fares prescribed by the government, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on Thursday.

In a set of detailed guidelines, the ministry advised people vulnerable to coronavirus like the elderly, pregnant women and passengers battling health issues to avoid air travel till the pandemic abates. People residing in containment zones will not be allowed to travel.

All passengers will have to provide their medical details through the Aarogya Setu app or by filling up a self-declaration form. They will have to go for web check-in as physical check-in counters at airports will not operate.

The rules include no meals on board, mandatory temperature checks for all passengers and allowing only one check-in bag for each passenger. People who were tested positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel. All the passengers will have to wear masks while entering the airports and thereafter.

Train ticket reservation counters to open at select railway stations

The Indian Railways will open its reservation counters at select stations for booking of only reserved tickets from tomorrow, the Railway Board said in an order today.
It said it will also allow reservation of reserved tickets from common service centres (CSC) and through ticketing agents with effect from Friday.

The zonal railways have been instructed to decide and notify opening of reservation counters according to local needs and conditions, the order stated.

These booking counters as well as the CSCs were shut since March 25 when a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus began.

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