Today's Paper

Virus tally crosses 50,000-mark; number of deaths surges to 1,771

Government readying train coaches, anticipating an increase in number of cases

For the second consecutive day, India on Wednesday recorded a three-digit rise in deaths though, at 126, it was lower than the previous day’s spike of 195.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 2,958, the fifth day running when the daily increase exceeded 2,000. At 49,391 confirmed infections on Wednesday, only 14 countries have more cases than India. There were 33,514 active cases while 1,457 people recovered in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said. The death toll stood at 1,694.

However, reports from the State Health Departments put the total number of cases at 52,468, of which 35,545 are active. The number of deaths rose to 1,771.

On Wednesday, the Centre indicated that it was preparing for an “increase in cases” and readying railway coaches to function as COVID care centres. These carriages would be deployed at 215 stations.

To house mild cases

While the Railways had said in March that it would offer coaches if needed, this was the first time a detailed set of guidelines explaining how these compartments would be used were publicised by the Health Ministry. A COVID care centre coach ideally ought to have just one patient, but if need be it could have two at the most. These coaches would be used to house people with mild symptoms, who could then be moved to dedicated hospitals, if required, the notification said.

Maharashtra leads the number of confirmed cases by a wide margin, with 12,089 active cases — Gujarat comes next at 4,496 — and 617 deaths. On Tuesday, the Health Ministry explained that the rise in casualties from Monday was due to some States reclassifying some deaths as COVID-19 ones. For some weeks, West Bengal had stopped counting patients who died with COVID-19, but had accompanying ailments — diabetes and heart conditions, etc., — as “COVID deaths”.

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