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India's Covid case growth rate of 6.8% in March is highest ever: Govt

The coronavirus situation in 11 states and UTs in particular is a matter of 'serious concern', says government

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BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

(Photo: PTI)

At a high-level review meeting with senior officials of states and union teritorries that are seeing exponential rise in infections in the past two weeks, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Friday said the situation in 11 states and union territories is a matter of 'serious concern'.

Taking note of the continuous deterioration of the Covid scenario over the fortnight, Gauba pointed out that India's current case growth rate of 6.8 per cent in March 2021 has surpassed the previous record of 5.5 per cent (June 2020).

India has also reported 5.5 per cent growth rate in daily Covid deaths in this period. While the country was reporting about 97,000 daily new Covid cases at the peak of the pandemic in September 2020, it has now reached the critical figure 81,000 daily new cases.

During the meeting, Dr V K Paul emphasised on need for states to follow a protocol for sharing clinical and epidemiological data for more detailed study of mutant strain of virus for genome sequencing.

The Union Home Secretary said that that the 11 states and UTs that are showing a surge in daily Covid cases have not shown commensurate increase in enforcement of containment activities. He urged the chief secretaries and DGs (Police) to take appropriate strict action in this regard.

The meeting was attended by the chief secretaries, DGPs, and senior health professionals of all states along with the Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Union Home Secretary, Union Health Secretary, Union Secretary (I&B) and the Director General of ICMR.

The government said that during the meeting it was highlighted that the situation was particularly worrying in Maharashtra and the state was advised to take up immediate and high effective measures to ensure containment of active cases and daily deaths.

"11 states and UTs were categorised as “states of grave concern” on account of their high and rising daily case and higher daily deaths. These have contributed 90 per cent of Covid cases (as on 31st March) and 90.5% of deaths (as on 31st March) in last 14 days, and have crossed/or close to crossing their early reported peaks during last year. It was pointed out the situation was particularly worrying in Maharashtra. They were advised to take up immediate and high effective measures to ensure containment of ative cases and daily deaths through adherence of the standard clinical management potocol shared earlier with all states and UTs," said Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a statement.

"Another worrisome aspect pointed out was that Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities along with peri-urban areas have recorded the recent high ruses in Covid cases; the spread of infection from these areas to the rural areas with weak health infrastructure would overwhelm the local administration was also highlighted," the Ministry added.

India recorded the highest single-day rise in cases in six months with 81,466 new infections in a span of 24 hours, taking the Covid-19 tally of cases to 12,303,131, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

The single-day rise in cases is the highest recorded since October 2, 2020, while the death toll increased to 163,396 with 469 daily new fatalities, the highest since December 6, the data updated at 8 am showed.

Registering a steady increase for the 23rd day in row, the active cases have increased to 614,696 comprising 5 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 93.67 per cent, the data stated.

As many as 81,484 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on October 2 while 482 daily deaths were registered on December 6.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 11525039. The case fatality rate stood at 1.33 per cent, the data stated.

According to the ICMR, 245,912,587 samples have been tested up to April 1, and 1,113,966 samples were tested on Thursday. The 469 new fatalities include 249 from Maharashtra, 58 Punjab, 34 from Chhattisgarh, 19 from Tamil Nadu, 18 from Karnataka, 11 from Kerala and 9 each from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

A total of 163,396 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 54,898 from Maharashtra, 12,738 from Tamil Nadu, 12585 from Karnataka, 11,036 from Delhi, 10,331 from West Bengal, 8,820 from Uttar Pradesh and 7,220 from Andhra Pradesh and 6926 from Punjab.

(With inputs from PTI)

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First Published: Fri, April 02 2021. 18:40 IST