NEW DELHI: The government on Sunday said Tablighi Jamaat, a religious congregation held mid-March in Delhi's Nizamuddin area has significantly contributed to the doubling of coronavirus (covid-19) cases in India.
Earlier, the number of confirmed cases doubled in around 7.4 days on an average, the event has resulted in doubling them in 4.1 days.
“The doubling rate of covid-19 cases in India is currently 4.1 days. This is due to Tablighi Jamaat, the additional cases are being reported now. Had this event not taken place, the doubling rate would have been 7.4 days," said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, health ministry, on Sunday.
The government also said a total of 3,374 have tested positive for the deadly virus so far in India.
“An additional 472 news cases have been reported since yesterday. Total 79 deaths reported, with 11 additional deaths in the last 24 hours. Total 267 persons have recovered so far," said Agarwal.
The number of covid-19 cases continues to rise in Andhra Pradesh, with 26 more people testing positive. The total number of cases in the state now stands at 226, and Nellore district has reported the highest number at 34.
As many as 29 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Mumbai, taking the total number to 690 in Maharashtra, the state's health minister Rajesh Tope said. With this, 406 cases have been reported from Mumbai alone, he said.
The government allayed concerns over the spread of the virus through air, clarifying that the infection only transmits via droplets released due to coughing, sneezing and from the breaths of a covid-19 patient.
“The coronavirus infection is not airborne but a droplet infection. Had it been an airborne infection, every person in a family of an infected person would have caught the virus because they all would be breathing the infected air by the infected family member. Same would apply for other patients in a hospital. In some cases, scientists have found it in some settings," said Raman R Gangakhedkar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
“We should go by the evidences in science. In the world there are over million of covid-19, but there is no such evidence," he said.
The government also said there is a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and N95 masks.
Domestic manufacturers have started production and the government has started procuring them from other countries.
“We've discussed this with all health secretaries, chief secretaries and DMs as this is one of the major issues. We've explained to them that PPEs available with us have been already immediately dispatched to the states based on case-load basis," said Agarwal.
"We need to understand we make allotments based on the number of cases reported in states. We are also parallely making an effort to see that how should its procurement be increased. It has started easing out, in coming weeks we should be able to manage these issues to a large extent," he added.