COVID-19 spreading faster than last time: Health Ministry

The Health Ministry addressing the media on Tuesday confirmed that Covid is spreading faster than ever before while terming the situation in Chhattisgarh to be a cause of concern.

A day after India’s daily COVID cases crossed one lakh for the first time since the pandemic, the Health Ministry officials said that Chhattisgarh’s Durg was among the top 10 districts with high active COVID cases. Other districts s included seven in Maharashtra, including Mumbai and Pune, and one in Karnataka.

The intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased in India and it is spreading faster than last time, they added.

According to Health Ministry, Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh remain states of maximum concern on account of high daily COVID-19 cases, deaths.

“The intensity of the pandemic has increased and it is spreading faster than last time. In some states, it (the condition) is worse than others but the upswing (in cases) can be observed across the country,” he said.

“People’s participation is vital to control the second wave. The next four weeks are going to very critical. The entire country has to come together and make efforts to fight the pandemic.”

He said the number of coronavirus cases is increasing and along with that mortality is also on the rise.

“Still, in terms of the population size and in terms of deaths per million we are doing well and the pandemic is in control.”

Detailing the COVID-19 situation in India, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said Chhattisgarh’s Durg is among the top 10 districts with high active COVID cases.

“Among these 10 districts, seven are in Maharashtra and one in Karnataka. Delhi, counted as one district, is also in the list.”

The 10 districts with the highest number of new cases are Pune, Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Nashik, Bengaluru Urban, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Delhi and Durg, he said.
Bhushan further said that Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh still remain states of maximum concern.

“Given their population, the number of deaths being reported by Punjab and Chhatisgarh is a cause of extreme concern,” he said.

The Centre has constituted 50 high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams and deployed them to districts reporting a surge in cases and mortality in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab, the Union health secretary said.

These teams were being deployed in 30 districts of Maharashtra, 11 of Chhattisgarh and nine of Punjab.

Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal were among the states that administered the maximum number of COVID vaccine doses, Bhushan said and emphasised that the immunisation drive has to be ramped up in a scientific manner.

“Chhattisgarh is a cause of concern for us. Despite being a small state, it 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,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

Stressing the need for RT-PCR tests, the Health Secretary said we have asked state governments to increase the percentage of RT-PCR tests, which had been falling in Maharashtra in the last few weeks.

Only 60% of total tests were done using the RT-PCR method in Maharashtra last week. We suggest states to take it to 70% or above, he explained.

Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal were among states that administered the maximum number of COVID vaccine doses, it was noted.

In India, 96,982 daily cases have been reported in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 1,65,547 with 446 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

(With agencies inputs)