COVID-19 Update: India records 260 new cases, total active at 1,828

India's total COVID-19 cases count stands at 4.50 crore, and recoveries have increased to 4.44 crore

Livemint, Written By Jocelyn Fernandes (with inputs from PTI)
First Published19 Dec 2023
India's COVID-19 case tally is 4.50 crore
India’s COVID-19 case tally is 4.50 crore(Photo: AP)

India reported 260 new cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus), with active cases rising to 1,828, as per the latest data from the Union Health Ministry on December 18. The death toll reached 5,33,317 according to the 8 am update.

Further, India's total COVID-19 cases count stands at 4.50 crore (4,50,05,076). And recoveries have increased to 4,44,69,931, bringing the national recovery rate to 98.81 percent, as stated on the health ministry's website.

The case fatality rate remains at 1.19 percent.

Also Read | Karnataka News: Govt makes wearing face masks mandatory amid Covid sub-variant JN.1 scare in neighbouring Kerala

The ministry's website indicates that 220.67 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the country to date.

Centre Urges States to Heighten Vigilance

The central government has written to states and union territories (UTs), urging them to maintain "continuous vigilance" in light of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and the identification of the first instance of the new JN.1 variant in Kerala. In a letter, Union Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant highlighted the need for sustained efforts.

He acknowledged collaborative actions between the Centre and state governments, to successfully maintain low rates of COVID-19 transmission. However, Pant emphasised the necessity to continue proactive measures due to the virus's continued circulation and its adaptation to Indian weather conditions and other prevailing pathogens.

Also Read: 'Report symptoms, increase testing': Govt advisory amid Covid spike, new JN.1 variant

States such as Kerala have recently reported a slight increase in COVID-19 cases, as noted by Pant. The first case of the COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 was detected in Kerala on December 8, adding to the concerns regarding the evolving situation.

With the forthcoming festive season, Pant advised states to implement necessary public health measures and make suitable arrangements to mitigate the risk of disease transmission.

Guidelines and Strategy Provided

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has provided detailed operational guidelines for a revised surveillance strategy for COVID-19, which states have been urged to effectively implement. This includes monitoring and reporting district-wise cases of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) in all health facilities regularly, enabling early detection of any escalating case trends.

Also Read | COVID subvariant JN.1 in Kerala raises concerns; expert says ‘markedly different from prior versions...’

States were also advised to ensure sufficient testing in all districts in line with COVID-19 testing guidelines and maintain the recommended proportion of RT-PCR and antigen tests to effectively manage the situation.

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