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5 States buck waning Covid trend

Cases spike in Kerala, Maha, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, MP

Just when the coronavirus cases begun to dip, five populated States — Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh — have started experiencing an upsurge in daily cases.

Daily Covid-19 cases in the country climbed to about 14,000 after nearly 22 days taking India’s tally to 1,09,77,387, while the recoveries surged to 1,06,78,048.

Only two States, Maharashtra and Kerala, account for 75.87 per cent of total number of active Covid-19 cases. At the same time, 78 per cent of the new deaths were reported from just 5 States, the Union Health Ministry said.

Health experts have called for dual efforts to address the emergence of the virus by ramping up vaccinations and implementation of safety protocols to curb transmission.

“In the past week, Maharashtra has exhibited a spike in the number of daily new cases, accounting for highest number of daily new cases in the country today. In last 24 hours, 6,112 daily new cases have been reported in the State,” the Centre said, adding that infections have increased by 37 per cent in Mumbai as the State capital recorded 823 cases on Friday, the highest single-day spike in infections since December.

Meanwhile, the Ministry said 18 States/UTs have not reported any Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. These are Telangana, Haryana, J&K (UT), Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Ladakh (UT), Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

The Ministry added that a total of 1,07,15,204 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered through 2,22,313 sessions, as per the provisional report till 8 am on Saturday. These include 63,28,479 healthcare workers (first dose), 8,47,161 healthcare workers (second dose) and 35,39,564 frontline workers (first dose).

Dr Rahul Bhargava, Director-Bone Marrow Transplant Programme, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, said Covid inappropriate behaviour, air travel and high density population in Maharashtra and Kerala are causing upsurge in the cases. The Government had also lifted air travel from the countries which had variants.

It’s not only Maharashtra and Kerala, but in the last seven days, Chhattisgarh too has seen a rise in daily active new cases. In the last 24 hours, 259 daily new cases have been reported.

“Similarly, Punjab has also shown a sudden spike in the number of daily new cases reported in last 7 days with 383 daily new cases in last 24 hours,” said the Ministry in a statement.

Dr Jugal Kishore, Head of Department of Community Medicine from Safdarjung Hospital, said lockdown is not a solution to the crisis.

“This shows that the State Government has not been able to strengthen its health infrastructure as well as inculcate Covid-norms.”

He also emphasised on focussing on the areas where sero-survailance surveys have been negative. “Those susceptible of the virus should be given priority while implementing the anti-Covid norms as well boost health system.”

Speaking at a webinar organised by the International Centre, Goa, Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Dr Shekhar Mande  said, “In Kerala and in some parts of Maharashtra the number has been increasing in the past few days and that might be a reflection of the fact that people have become complacent and believe that the worst is behind us. The worst is not over and unless we follow all precautions, we will not be able to get over the pandemic so easily.”

Rajeev Jayadevan, scientific adviser and former president of the Indian Medical Association, said the variations in cases were expected, given how viruses behave in a large geographical area.

Jayadevan also said what India is witnessing could be called a “stochastic spread” of novel coronavirus, where no uniformity in daily outcomes could be determined.

Sunday, 21 February 2021 | PNS | New Delhi

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