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Chhattisgarh worst-hit by Covid; high number of UK variant cases in Punjab: Health Minister

Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. (PTI)Premium
Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. (PTI)

  • Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says Chhattisgarh has positivity rate of 14% and growth rate of 8%
  • 'This has come to our notice that the sudden increase in cases is largely or may be event-driven including grand weddings, local body election, farmer's protest, etc,' Vardhan further states

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday expressed huge concerns for Chhattisgarh's deteriorating Covid-19 situations over the past few weeks.

Vardhan today held a high-level meeting with health ministers of 11 states that have been witnessing a surge in cases to review the situation there. After the meeting, he highlighted that the worst affected state is Chhattisgarh with a positivity rate of 14% and growth rate of 8%. There have been 10-fold rise in cases in the state.

Vardhan also added that in Punjab, 80% of the cases found are of the UK variant, which was confirmed by genome sequencing, reported news agency ANI quoting the health minister.

"This has come to our notice that the sudden increase in cases are largely or may be event-driven including grand weddings, local body election, farmer's protest, etc," Vardhan further stated.

Vardhan also added that despite the resurgence of the virus in the country, India's recovery rate is at 92.38% while fatality rate is at 1.30%.

The other states of concern are Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Earlier today, the Union Health Ministry expressed that the number of novel coronavirus deaths in Punjab and Chhattisgarh is a cause of "extreme concern" amid the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country.

During a routine health briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, "Death numbers being reported in Punjab and Chhattisgarh are cause of extreme concern." He also added that of all the active cases in the country, 58% of active cases are in Maharashtra while 34% of the total deaths have been reported in the worst-hit state as well.

Highlighting the situation of Chhattisgarh in particular, the ministry further said the despite being a small state, the state reports 6% of total COVID cases and 3% of total deaths in the country.

"The condition of Chhattisgarh has deteriorated in the second wave of infections," Bhushan added.

For Punjab, the government stressed around 4.5% of deaths due to COVID are being reported in Punjab. "It is satisfactory that share of RT-PCR tests in average daily tests has increased to 76% in Punjab," Bhushan said.

The Ministry also said that next four weeks are very critical for India in controlling the resurgence of covid-19 cases. The government also expressed extreme concern over increasing deaths due to covid-19 in Punjab and Chhattisgarh. “Average daily new cases in Maharashtra rose to more than 44,000 as compared to an average of 3,000 daily cases in 2nd week of February. Average daily deaths have also gone up from 32 to 250," said Rajesh Bhushan, union health secretary adding that death numbers being reported in Punjab and Chhattisgarh are cause of extreme concern.

The daily rise in COVID-19 cases in India crossed the grim milestone of one lakh on Monday, from 20,000 infections in just 25 days, unlike last year when it took 76 days for daily cases to reach the then peak of 97,894 on September 17, reflecting the speed at which the virus is spreading.

India recorded an all-time high of 1,03,558 single day new coronavirus infections pushing the nationwide tally to 1,25,89,067, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Monday.The death toll increased to 1,65,101 with 478 daily new fatalities, it said.

Besides imposing fresh curbs over the last few days, several states including Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi have announced closure of schools or suspended classes briefly till the COVID-19 situation is further reviewed.

While a few states like Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu have announced closure of schools for an indefinite period, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Punjab among others have suspended classes for a brief period. Schools have been directed to impart education through online classes.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 57,074 (55.11 per cent). It is followed by Chhattisgarh with 5,250 while Karnataka reported 4,553 new cases.

Eight states including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have shown a steep rise in the daily new cases accounting for 81.90 per cent of the new cases reported in a span of 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said.

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