Maharashtra, Punjab are of grave concern: Health Ministry

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Maharashtra and Punjab are States of grave concern with both showing a surge in daily new COVID-19 cases, said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday at a press conference adding that Pune (43,590), Nagpur (33,160), Mumbai (26,599), Thane (22,513) and Nashik (15,710) and Jalandhar (92,629), SAS Nagar (2,561), Ludhiana (2,167), Patiala (2,064) and Hoshiarpur (1,833) are the top districts registering the highest numbers.

“Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh are also areas which are seeing a surge. While COVID protocol needs to be followed, we also urge greater private partnership to ensure faster and wider coverage of the vulnerable population,’’ he said.

Mr. Bhushan said with the country registering 88% COVID-19 deaths in the 45 and above age group, the expanded vaccination cover is aimed at protecting those who are most vulnerable.

“The way forward in this early phase of the second wave is test, mask and vaccination,’’ said Indian Council of Medical Research head Balram Bharagava. He said vaccination available with India protects against the U.K. and Brazilian variant while research is on-going about its effectiveness against the South African variant.

Telangana, Chandigarh, Nagaland and Punjab have low vaccination coverage of Health Care Workers, said the Ministry.

47,262 new cases

India has reported 47,262 new cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single day spike since November 7 taking the tally to 1,17,34,058, the Ministry said. The numbers have spiked since a slight dip in cases on Tuesday at 40,715 cases. New cases have been on the rise for the past nearly two weeks now.

“Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat are reporting a surge in the daily new cases. These States account for 77.44% of the new cases. Six States cumulatively account for 81.65% of the cases reported in the past 24 hours. Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 28,699. It is followed by Punjab (2,254) and Karnataka (2,010).”

Eight States have reported a higher weekly positivity rate than the national average (4.11%). Maharashtra leads with a weekly positivity rate of 20.53%. Six States accounted for 83.27% of the 275 deaths reported in the last 24 hours with Maharashtra logging the highest (132). Punjab follows with 53 daily deaths and Chhattisgarh 20.

Odisha, Lakshadweep, Ladakh (UT), Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh are among 12 States/UTs that have not reported any deaths in the last 24 hours.

Additional Secretary, Health Ministry, Arti Ahuja has written to States/UTs cautioning against any laxity during the upcoming festival season. “Any laxity at this point in ensuring strict adherence to various SOPs issued by the Health Ministry to contain the spread of COVID-19 may result in losing the impetus and benefits that our country has gained do far in managing the virus,’’ she said.

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