Coronavirus | Gujarat ‘super-spreaders’ spike national tally

30 municipal areas account for almost 80% cases.

Published - May 17, 2020 12:56 am IST - New Delhi/Ahmedabad

A vegetable vendor does brisk business in Ahmedabad on May16, 2020.

A vegetable vendor does brisk business in Ahmedabad on May16, 2020.

India recorded its highest-ever single day increase of 4,820 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, with Gujarat accounting for 1,057 of them.

The Gujarat numbers spiked after its Health Department announced that 709 “super-spreaders” were found positive, besides the 348 infections recorded in the past 24 hours. Over 6,500 samples of “super-spreaders,” including vegetable vendors and grocery shop owners were tested.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India | State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates

According to data from the State Health Departments, India has 90,582 cumulative cases, and 54,531 active ones. The death toll stood at 2,874.

With 30 municipal areas accounting for almost 80% of the country’s COVID-19 cases, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday asked States and Union Territories to focus not just on containment zones but also buffer zones around them to break the chain of transmission.

Health Secretary Preeti Sudan held a high level review with the Principal Health Secretaries, Municipal Commissioners and other officials from these areas. “These 30 municipal areas are from States/UTs including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Odisha,” a Health Ministry release said.

Maintaining high vigilance and monitoring areas of old cities, urban slums and other high density pockets along with the camps for migrant workers are crucial, the release said. The Ministry noted that in densely populated urban areas further challenges need to be considered like poor socio-economic conditions, limited health infrastructure, lack of social distancing, issues faced by women among others factors.

India coronavirus lockdown Day 53 updates | Helpline numbers

The review comes as 3,970 new COVID-19 cases and 103 deaths were reported by the Union Health Ministry in the last 24 hours. The total number of positive cases now stands at 85,940, including 53,035 active cases, 30,153 cured/discharged/migrated cases and 2,752 deaths as of Saturday, the Ministry said

In its release, the Ministry added that in the last 24 hours, 2,233 patients were declared as cured, taking the total recovery rate to 35.09 %.

The average number of new cases everyday since May 9 has gone up to 3,754, while the average number of fatalities per day for the period is 110.

Effective communication

Municipal Areas have now been asked to focus on effective risk communication to build trust and confidence. “They have been directed to engage with community leaders and local opinion leaders who could accompany the local surveillance teams to encourage cooperation from the local communities,’’ said the release. The Ministry added that it is vital to maintain high sanitation standards of the relief and isolation camps, and waste management from the homes of COVID-19 cases.

Coronavirus | No new COVID-19 cases after May 16, claimed a study presented by NITI Aayog member V.K. Paul

The Ministry noted that measures taken by the officials and the staff of the municipal corporations for the management of COVID-19 cases were reviewed.

“The States/UTs were briefed about the factors to be considered while mapping the containment and buffer zones, activities mandated in containment zone like perimeter control, active search for cases through house to house surveillance, contact tracing, testing protocol, clinical management of the active cases, ensuring social distancing, promoting hand hygiene,” noted the Ministry.

Meanwhile, admitting that health care personnel working in hospitals are at increased risk of acquiring the COVID-19 disease, if there is a breach in the personal protection while managing patients, the Union Health Ministry has now issued a revised advisory for healthcare workers in COVID and Non-COVID areas of hospitals, which directs use of buddy system, use of appropriate PPE at all times while on duty and immediately informing about any breach in preventive measures.

The Ministry has said health-work force is a valuable and scarce resource and health professionals have to use appropriate PPE at all times while on duty, and a ``buddy system’’ is to be followed to ensure that there is no breach in infection prevention control practices.

“Under the buddy system approach, two or more-person team is formed amongst the deployed hospital staff who share responsibilities for his/her partner’s safety and well-being in the context of — appropriately donning and doffing of PPEs, maintaining hand hygiene and taking requisite steps on observing breach of PPEs,” the advisory said.

Download The Hindu’s multi-language e-book on essential COVID-19 information

The guidelines adds that any breach in PPE and exposure must immediately be informed to the nodal officer/HoD of the department. “Pregnant/lactating mothers and immuno-compromised healthcare workers shall inform their medical condition to the hospital authorities for them to get posted only in non-Covid areas,” the guidelines notes.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.