Five States account for 80% of fresh COVID-19 cases

Maharashtra tops daily chart with over 15,000 cases

March 16, 2021 03:00 pm | Updated 07:23 pm IST

 A man walks past effigy of corona demon depict as year 2020, created by youth at Worli in Mumbai. File

A man walks past effigy of corona demon depict as year 2020, created by youth at Worli in Mumbai. File

As per data released by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday, five States — Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu — continue to report a surge in COVID-19 cases and account for nearly 80% (79.73%) of the 24,492 new cases registered in the past 24 hours.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 15,051, followed by Punjab with 1,818, while Kerala reported 1,054.

Also read: Coronavirus | Health Ministry tells Maharashtra to plan for ‘worst-case scenario’

“Eight States — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka and Haryana — are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases,” said the Ministry release. 

Letter of concern

Expressing concern over the rising number of cases in Maharashtra, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to the State government, ticking-off the administration for inadequate contact-tracing efforts while urging that it must focus on strict and effective containment strategies and plan for a worst-case scenario.

Also read: COVID-19: Centre ticks-off Maharashtra over inadequate contact-tracing efforts, urges stricter containment strategies

In his letter to Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte based on the report of a Central team, Mr. Bhushan, cautioned that the State was in the throes of “a second wave”, and said measures like weekend lockdowns and night curfews (currently being deployed by the State government), had a “very limited impact on containing or suppressing the transmission.” 

He also pointed out that eight of the top 10 districts in terms of active infections are in Maharashtra and the only way to rein in the virus was to ramp up vaccination, especially in these districts. 

He further said the Central team had inferred that the administrative mechanism in the State should be “re-instated to the level witnessed in August -September last year to contain/suppress the COVID-19 transmission.” 

Vaccine doses sought

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope refuted allegations that the State government was “not serious” about tackling the renewed surge and said he had sought 2.20 crore vaccine doses from the Centre. Mr. Tope, who was in New Delhi on Tuesday, said he had written to the Union Health Minister, requesting the Centre to supply 20 lakh doses per week to the State. 

“The state is planning to vaccinate those above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age afflicted with co-morbidities. It needs a supply of 2.20 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine (Covishield and Covaxin) over the next three-and-a-half months,” Mr. Tope said in his letter. 

131 deaths

India has also reported 20,191 recoveries and 131 deaths in the last 24 hours, with the country’s active case load at 2,23,432 currently. Seven States account for over 80% of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (48), followed by Punjab with 27 and Kerala with 11 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Chandigarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Ladakh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh are among 16 States/Union Territories that have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

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