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While the cumulative number of covid-19 vaccine doses administered in India crossed 2.06 Crore on Saturday, the country also reported over 18,327 fresh coronavirus cases highest in this week.

Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have reported a high number of covid-19 daily new cases. They cumulatively account for 82% of the new cases reported in the past 24 hours. Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 10,216. It is followed by Kerala with 2,776 while Punjab reported 808 new cases. India’s total Active Caseload has reached 1,80,304 as on Saturday which is 1.61% of India’s total Positive Cases, highest this week.

The Central Government on Saturday rushed high level multi-disciplinary public health teams to Maharashtra and Punjab in view of the increase in number of daily new covid-19 cases being consistently reported by these States. They are being deployed to assist the State Health Departments in covid-19 surveillance, control and containment measures.

The high-level team to Maharashtra will be led by Dr P Ravindran, senior CMO, Disaster Management Cell, union health ministry. The public health team to Punjab will be led by Dr S K Singh, Director, National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi.

The teams will visit the States immediately and will visit the hotspot areas in the States and ascertain reasons for the surge. They will also brief the Chief Secretary/Secretary (H) on their observations and remedial measures to be undertaken by the State Health authorities.

Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary and Vinod K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog on Saturday interacted with Health Secretaries and mission directors of the national health mission (NHM) of Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and UTs of Delhi and Chandigarh.

These States/UTs have in the recent past seen increased positivity and increased number of daily positive cases. They reviewed the ongoing public health measures of surveillance, containment and management of COVID cases in wake of the steep rise in daily new cases of COVID and the high number of active caseload being reported from these eight States/UTs.

In a detailed presentation, it was pointed out that 9 districts in Delhi, 15 in Haryana, 10 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Odisha, 9 in Himachal Pradesh, 7 in Uttarakhand, 2 in Goa, 1 in Chandigarh continue to be of concern as these districts are seeing a decrease in total tests being conducted, low share of RT-PCR tests, increase in weekly positivity and low number of contact tracing of the COVID positive cases. These together can pose high risk of transmission to the neighbouring States and UTs. A granular analysis of the COVID response in the districts was shared with the States/UTs for further action.

States were specifically asked to continue with the effective strategy of ‘Test Track & Treat’ that had yielded rich dividends at the height of the pandemic, improve overall testing in districts reporting reduction in testing and increase share of RT-PCR tests in districts dependent on high levels of antigen testing.

The centre also asked the states to refocus on surveillance and stringent containment of those areas in selected districts which are seeing cluster of cases. The states were asked carry out an average close contact tracing of minimum of 20 persons per positive case. States focus on clinical management in districts reporting higher deaths.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on 16th Jan 2021 with vaccination of healthcare workers (HCWs) and vaccination of the Frontline Workers (FLWs) started from 2nd Feb 2021.The next phase of covid-19 vaccination has commenced from 1st March 2021 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. A total of 2,06,62,073 vaccine doses have been given, as per the provisional report till 7 pm.

These include 69,72,859 HCWs who have taken the 1st dose and 35,22,671HCWs who have taken the 2nd dose, 65,02,869FLWs (1stdose), 1,97,853FLWs (2nd dose), 4,60,782beneficiaries more than 60 years old and 30,05,039 beneficiaries aged 45 and above with specific co-morbidities.

Total 11,64,422vaccine doses were given till 7 pm today, the 50th day of nationwide covid-19 vaccination. Out of which 9,44,919 beneficiaries were vaccinated for 1st dose and 2,19,503HCWs and FLWs received 2nd dose of vaccine as per the provisional report. Final reports would be completed for the day by late tonight.

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