The surge in the number of COVID-19 cases has gone “from bad to worse”, said member (health) of the NITI Aayog V.K. Paul on Tuesday as India registered 56,211 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Dr Paul said 10 districts across India including Pune (59,475), Mumbai (46,248), Nagpur ( 45,322), Thane (35,264), Nashik (26,553), Aurangabad (21,282) and Bengaluru Urban (16,259) currently have the highest active COVID case load.
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Surge in cases a cause of concern: Ministry
“The country is facing an increasingly severe and intensive situation in some districts but the whole country is potentially at risk. All efforts to contain the virus and save lives should be taken,” said member (health) of the NITI Aayog V.K. Paul.
Also addressing the presser along with Mr. Paul on Tuesday, Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan stressed the need to take urgent action to curb the surge. He said States have been asked to ramp up testing with focus on RT-PCR tests, ensure effective and prompt isolation of those infected and tracing their close contacts while strengthening public and private health care resources. “Ensuring COVID appropriate behaviour and saturation of vaccination for priority age groups” in districts reporting surge in cases is also a priority, he said.
Nepal to restart vaccinations
Nepal was set to restart Covid-19 inoculations after receiving a donation of doses from China, resuming a campaign that was put on hold because India slowed vaccine exports.
India and China have sought to use vaccine diplomacy to extend influence around the world during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly among poorer countries seeking cheaper shots.
Nepal began vaccinations in January after receiving one million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine from neighbouring India. Another 348,000 from the World Health Organization-backed Covax scheme arrived in March.
But only half of a follow-up order of two million shots from India has been delivered so far, and none have been administered since mid-March.
But the health ministry said Tuesday that the drive would resume after 800,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine arrived on Monday.
“It will be given after a decision is made on which population bracket we will target,” health ministry spokesman Jageshwor Gautam said.
Italy reports 529 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, 16,017 new cases
Italy reported 529 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday against 417 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 16,017 from 12,916.
Some 301,451 tests for COVID-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 156,692, the health ministry said.
Italy has registered 108,879 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. The country has reported 3.56 million cases to date.
Patients in hospital with COVID-19 – not including those in intensive care – stood at 29,231 on Tuesday, increasing from 29,163 a day earlier.
Daily cases drop below 1,000 as testing declines by almost half
The Capital reported 992 new COVID-19 cases in 24-hours with four deaths, a bulletin released by the Health Department on Tuesday said. It added that 36,757 tests were conducted in a single day, with a positivity rate of 2.7%. The case tally stands at 6,60,611 with 11,016 total fatalities.
Bombay HC to decide on conducting online and physical hearings
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said it would take a decision on using both online and physical hearings in view of the increase in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra.
Chief Justice Dipankar Datta said several recommendations had been received for adopting the hybrid (online and physical) system of hearings, but no decision had been taken yet. “An internal meeting with the administrative committee of the High Court will be held this week and a decision will be taken based on what the experts suggest,” he said.
CSIR suggests coronavirus surveillance for Parliament
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has mooted setting up sewage and air surveillance system in the Indian Parliament to find the prevalence of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Director General Shekhar C. Mande made a presentation to this effect to Vice-President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha M. Venkaiah Naidu in the presence of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Director Rakesh Mishra, IICT Director S. Chandrasekhar, senior scientist Venkata Mohan and Atya Kapley of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Nagpur).
(With inputs from our Correspondents and agencies)