As India witnessed the highest daily tally of COVID-19 cases this year, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday that Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh account for 83.14 percent of the new infections
On Sunday, India reported 43,846 new coronavirus cases in a day, making it the highest single-day rise recorded so far in 2021, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,15,99,130, according to the data uploaded by the Union Health Ministry.
This comes a day after All India Institute of Medical Sciences chief Randeep Guleria said on Saturday that the Center holds the lax approach by people on maintaining COVID-related precautions as the reason behind the second wave of infections.
Registering an increase for the 11th day in a row, the total active caseload has increased to 3,09,087, which now comprises 2.66 percent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 95.96 percent, as per data from the Union Health Ministry.
The daily rise in infections was the highest recorded in 115 days. The toll increased to 1,59,755 with 197 daily new fatalities, the highest in 97 days. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,11,30,288, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.38 percent, the data stated.
Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Rajasthan government has decided to impose night curfew in eight cities from 11 pm to 5 am and ordered the closure of markets by 10 pm from Monday. The government has also made it mandatory for people coming to Rajasthan from other states to carry a COVID-19 negative test report along with them from 25 March.
Meanwhile, noting the potential of an upsurge in COVID-19 cases during the Kumbh Mela, the Centre has written to Uttarakhand strongly highlighting the concerns raised by a high-level Central team about the need for stringent measures to control the spread of the disease.
Here’s a look at some of the top developments from the day:
Rajasthan announces night curfew in 8 cities
The Rajasthan government on Sunday tightened virus-related restrictions in the state as well as for those arriving there from outside. The government has decided to impose a night curfew in eight cities from 11 pm to 5 am and ordered the closure of markets by 10 pm from Monday.
The government has also made it mandatory for people coming to Rajasthan from other states to carry a COVID-19 negative test report along with them from 25 March. If passengers do not have the negative test report, they will have to stay in quarantine for 15 days, according to an official statement. Passengers will also be examined at airports, bus stands and railway stations.
The decisions were taken in a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The night curfew will be imposed in Ajmer, Bhilwara, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur, Sagwada (Dungarpur) and Kushalgarh (Banswara) from 11 pm to 5 am. The night curfew will not be applicable to those factories which have continuous production and have a system of night shifts.
Also, IT companies, restaurants, medical shops, offices-related to essential and emergency services, wedding ceremonies, medical institutes, bus stands, railway stations and airports will be exempted from the night curfew.
‘Five states account for over 83% of new cases’
As India witnessed 43,846 cases in the past 24 hours, the highest daily tally of COVID-19 cases this year, the Union Health Ministry said that Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh account for 83.14 percent of the new infections.
Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 27,126. It is followed by Punjab with 2,578 while Kerala reported 2,078 new cases. Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh reported 1,798, 1,565 and 1, 308 infections in a day.
Besides, 197 deaths were reported in a span 24 hours in the country, the ministry said adding six states account for 86.8 percent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (92). Punjab follows with 38 daily deaths. Kerala reported 15 deaths.
Delhi reported over 800 coronavirus cases for the first time this year on Saturday, while two more people succumbed to the pathogen.
The active cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rose to 3,409 from 3,165 a day ago. The positivity rate breached the one percent-mark after over two months, according to a bulletin.
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat and Haryana are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, according to the ministry.
Centre warns of ‘rapid upsurge’ during Kumbh Mela
Noting that there is a potential of an upsurge in COVID-19 cases during the Kumbh Mela, the Centre has written to Uttarakhand strongly highlighting the concerns raised by a high-level central team about the need for stringent measures to control the spread of the disease.
The central team led by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Director visited Uttarakhand on 16 and 17 March to review the medical and public health measures undertaken by the state for the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
In his letter to the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has observed that more than 12 states in India have shown a surge in COVID-19 cases during the past few weeks, and pilgrims expected to visit Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela could also be from these states.
“It has been noted that there is a potential of an upsurge in cases in the local population after the auspicious Shahi Snan days during the Kumbh Mela,” the ministry said. “The secretary also noted that as per the report of the Central team, 10-20 pilgrims and 10-20 locals are being reported positive every day.
“This positivity rate has the potential to rapidly turning to an upsurge in cases, given the expected large footfall during Kumbh,” the ministry said in its statement.
The state has been informed that the daily testing numbers reported in Haridwar – 50,000 Rapid Antigen tests and 5,000 RTPCR tests – are not enough to effectively offset a huge number of expected pilgrim footfall.
It has been advised that the share of RTPCR tests being conducted at present needs to be significantly increased as per the ICMR guidelines to ensure that the pilgrims and local population are appropriately tested.
‘Second wave has started in Karnataka’
Karnataka health minister Dr K Sudhakar on Sunday, announcing the implemenation of COVID-19 prevention policies, said the second wave of coronavirus has begun and sought people’s cooperation to contain the disease. “We are at the beginning of the second wave of coronavirus ,” he said.
For travellers entering the western state, the government has mandated the passengers to carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours from 25 March to contain the spread. In its order, it said that the test report should not be older than 72 hours from the time of arriving in the state.
If the RT-PCR test report of travellers is not negative, they would have to remain in quarantine for 15 days, officials said. In other restrictions imposed today, the state government ordered primary schools to remain closed till further order.
The decisions were taken during a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
‘Six crore COVID-19 vaccine doses sent to 76 nations’
More than six crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been sent to 76 nations, while 4.5 crore doses have been administered to beneficiaries in the country till now, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday.
He also called for making the vaccination drive a Jan Aandolan (mass movement).
Until this morning, nearly 4.5 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given to the people in this country. More than six crore doses have been sent to 76 nations, Vardhan said during a media interaction at the Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH).
Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party (BJP) president J P Nadda have called for making the vaccination drive a ‘jan andolan’ (mass movement),” he said.
Chhattisgarh govt decides to close all schools, colleges
Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday chaired a meeting of his cabinet ministers and senior officials to ensure guidelines are enforced to check the spread of the virus in view of the upcoming Holi festival and wedding season.
The chief minister also directed that the number of daily COVID-19 tests be increased as well as the vaccination drive be expedited, a state public relations department official said.
Discussions were held on closing schools, Anganwadi centres, colleges and universities and holding online exams except for Class 10 and 12 board examinations, he said.
Talking to reporters after the meet, state Agriculture Minister Ravindra Choubey said, “In view of the present situation, immediate directives have been issued to restrict children from visiting Anganwadi centres and students from coming to schools and colleges, which have been asked to continue academic activities online.”
However, official orders are yet to be issued for shutting these facilities, and schools, colleges and universities, which were shut since the coronavirus -induced lockdown imposed in the country last year, were reopened from 15 February, though only students of Classes 9 to 12 had to attend.
With inputs from PTI