Coronavirus outbreak | Affected districts increased from 62 to 257 in a span of 15 days

Workers wearing protective suits disinfect the exterior of a passenger train after it was converted into an isolation facility amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the outskirts of Kolkata, West Bengal on April 6, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The total number of districts that reported COVID-19 positive cases across the country jumped from 62 to 257 in a span of 15 days, a presentation made by the Ministry of Health to the Cabinet Secretary said.

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In all, there are 718 districts in the country spread over 28 States and eight Union Territories.

The presentation made by Kuldeep Singh of the Health Ministry before Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday showed that as on March 20, there was only one district in Maharashtra where more than 10 cases were reported. By April 4, the number of such districts spiked to 70. The cases also soared from 195 to 2,769 in the same period. From 62 districts on March 20, the number of affected districts almost doubled to 117 on March 25. The country was put under a 21-day lockdown on March 25 after a day-long ‘Janata Curfew’ of March 22. The rate of testing also increased during this period.

The presentation- COVID-19—Orientation on Containment Strategy, made during a videoconference of Chief Secretaries of the States and Union Territories (UTs) projected the figures till April 4.

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On the “graded response” of the government to control the spread of the pandemic, the Ministry official said that on January 17, flights from China and Hong Kong were placed on surveillance at three airports and screening of passengers arriving from all international flights began on March 4, when the number of positive case jumped from 6 to 24. The first case was reported on January 30.

Coronavirus outbreak | Affected districts increased from 62 to 257 in a span of 15 days

The chart showed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a “pandemic” on March 11 and the first-ever advisory on social distancing was issued on March 17, the day 126 positive cases were found. All international passenger flights were banned on March 22, the day ‘Janata Curfew’ was observed.

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On Sunday, Mr. Gauba asked all the States and UTs to formulate a containment plan as part of the strategy to deal with the spread of coronavirus and ensure its effective implementation on ground to avoid a community transmission stage. The lockdown period provides the country a window of opportunities to act positively and be prepared to face any eventuality, Mr. Gauba said at the videoconference.

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The presentation said that “COVID-19 originated as a cluster of atypical Pneumonia from Wuhan, China, in December 2019” and “possibly jumped species barrier and infected humans in a seafood market,” after which it developed capacity for “person to person transmission.”

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On March 27, Mr. Gauba wrote to all the States to monitor 15 lakh passengers who arrived at international airports from January 18-March 23. The details of all the passengers were shared with the States.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 10:13:06 AM |

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