New COVID cases in India near six-month high

India’s active caseload is now at 13,509, more than double what it was ten days ago, with 14 deaths also recorded on Thursday; the Centre will hold a mock drill for hospital infrastructure on April 10 and 11

March 30, 2023 10:27 am | Updated 09:19 pm IST - New Delhi

Social activists conduct a COVID-19 awareness and free mask distribution. Photo used for representation purpose only.

Social activists conduct a COVID-19 awareness and free mask distribution. Photo used for representation purpose only. | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

India recorded 3,016 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours, almost a six-month high, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, noting that the daily positivity rate had spiked to 2.73% from just 1.51% the previous day. The last time the infection rate was so high was on October 2 last year, when India had reported 3,375 new COVID cases. 

The country’s active COVID caseload currently stands at 13,509, more than double the 6,350 infected people on March 20. The death count has increased to 5,30,862, with 14 deaths, including three reported by Maharashtra, two from Delhi and one reported by Himachal Pradesh in a span of 24 hours, as well as eight more reconciled by Kerala. More than 1.1 lakh COVID tests were conducted in the last day, Health Ministry data showed.

Caseload spikes in capital

The active cases now comprise 0.03% of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has been recorded at 98.78%. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,41,68,321, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.19% on Thursday. 

In the national capital, where the infection count had dropped to nil on January 16, 300 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, leading the government to urge citizens not to panic but to use a mask. Additionally, Maharashtra reported a 63% jump in daily cases with 694 new infections on Thursday, also the highest for the State since October. Solapur and Sangli districts topped the positivity chartfor March in Maharashtra, with 20.05% and 17.47% rates respectively, the State health department said.

Strengthening surveillance

Earlier this week, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting with the States to review their preparedness for management of the pandemic. The Centre directed the States to strengthen surveillance, with a focus on whole genome sequencing of positive samples, and an increase in testing with a higher proportion of RT-PCR tests. States have also been advised to undertake mock drills to ensure operational readiness of hospital infrastructure, including oxygen cylinders, ventilators and human resources.

“Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and Adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour continue to remain the tested strategy for COVID management,’‘ the Health Ministry said.

Dr. Rajiv Bahl, secretary of the Department of Health Research added that States showing higher numbers of cases should monitor clusters of new cases and severe cases. The Health Ministry has said that a mock drill for readiness of hospital infrastructure will be held on Apriil 10 and 11.

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