Maharashtra, Punjab show recent surge in Covid cases, a matter of ‘grave concern’: Govt

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While reviewing the Covid-19 situation in the country, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said two states are of ‘grave concern’, which have shown a recent surge in cases. These two states are Maharashtra and Punjab.

Speaking at a routine press briefing, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan informed, “Maharashtra reported more than 28,000 cases in the last 24 hours and Punjab is reporting huge number of cases in proportion to its population.”

Besides these two states, the ministry also added that Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are of concern too in terms of Covid surge. Gujarat is reporting around 1,700 cases daily and MP around 1500 cases. “Most cases in Gujarat concentrated in Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar, while in MP, it’s concentrated in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Ujjain & Betul,” Bhushan said.

The ministry also added that the top 10 districts where maximum active cases are concentrated are – Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad, Bengaluru Urban, Nanded, Jalgaon and Akola.

Nine districts from Maharashtra and one from Karnataka, Bhushan added.

Earlier today, the ministry also highlighted that six states have reported a surge in daily new cases and accounted for nearly 81 per cent of the new infections in the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) issued new guidelines asking all states and union territories to enhance proportion of RT-PCR tests, strictly enforce ‘test-track-treat’ protocol and speed up the pace of vaccination to cover all priority groups.

It also said that COVID-19 vaccine will be made available for everyone above 45 years from April 1 in order to expand the inoculation drive amid a surge in new cases with the doubling time having sharply reduced since the start of this month.

Meanwhile, India has detected a new “double mutant variant” of the novel coronavirus, the health ministry said on Wednesday, adding to concern as the government struggles with the highest single-day tally of new infections and deaths this year.

Genome sequencing and analysis of samples from Maharashtra state found mutations in the virus that do not match previously catalogued “variants of concern” (VOC), the ministry said in a statement.

Maharashtra is one of India’s worst-affected states but the ministry said it was not clear if the new variant was causing an upsurge there or in other states.

“Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry also said that the total number of cases with the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the country has reached 795.

As many as 47,262 more people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative caseload in India to 1,17,34,058, said the Union health ministry on Wednesday.

This is the biggest spike in daily cases the country has seen in over 130 days. India had last recorded over 47,000 cases in early November 2020.

In addition to this, the death toll in the country has reached 1,60,441 with 275 more people succumbing to the disease in the same duration. The fatalities have seen a big jump too as the counted rested at 199 on Tuesday.

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