India, on Saturday, recorded the biggest single-day jump of 2,411 COVID-19 cases, taking the total number to 37,776, according to data released by the Union Health Ministry.
This is the largest rise in cases since January, when the infection was first detected in India.
With 71 more deaths, the death toll has gone up to 1,223. India currently has 26,535 active COVID-19 cases, and 10,017 patients have recovered.
“In the last 24 hours, more than 1,061 patients were cured. This takes our total recovery rate to 26.65%,” added the Ministry.
Data from the State Health Departments put the total number of cases at 39,435, of which 27,534 are active ones.
The number of fatalities stood at 1,316.
With 790 new cases, the number of cases in Maharashtra reached 12,296. Mumbai accounted for 547 of the cases.
The death toll in the State rose to 521, with 27 deaths in Mumbai and nine in other parts of the State.
Gujarat reported 26 deaths, the highest number of fatalities in a single day so far, taking the over all toll to 262. With 333 new cases, most of them in Ahmedabad, the tally in the State rose to 5,054, an official said.
India crossed the million-mark for conducting RT-PCR tests, with the Indian Council of Medical Research now having ramped up testing to more than 75,000 samples per day.
“Currently, there are 419 labs testing for coronavirus in the country. There are currently 14 mentor institutions, including AIIMS, PGI Chandigarh, CMC Vellore, JIPMER Puducherry, and SGPIMS Lucknow, who are hand-holding several medical colleges/ labs/ hospitals in carrying out tests. There are 15 institutions spread in the country working as depots for supplying testing kits/ material to these labs,” a senior government source said.
A senior ICMR officials added that they are following the United States decision to give permission for emergency use of Ebola drug Remdesivir for treating coronavirus. “It is a development which is being followed across the world and India is no exception,” he said.
The Health Ministry, meanwhile, has now cautioned against the abuse of antibiotics stating that these do not work against viruses. “They only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection,” the Ministry said.
Additional guidelines on rationed use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have also been issued by the Health Ministry, adding that prescribed standard precautions are to be followed at all times by health care professionals.
“PPEs are not alternative to basic preventive public health measures such as hand hygiene, respiratory etiquettes which must be followed at all times. Also healthcare professional are to always follow the laid down protocol for disposing off PPEs as detailed in infection prevention and control guideline,” noted the release.
It added that patients and their attendants are encouraged to put on face cover at all times.
The Health Ministry has reiterated that India has many people with COVID-19 who are experiencing only mild symptoms and this is particularly true at the early stages of the disease.
“It is, therefore, possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all are low but the possibility cannot be ruled out.”
It added that the currently the most common known symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.
“Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell,’’ noted the Ministry.
It has said that in India most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.