Cabinet Secretary reviews spike in COVID-19 cases in 8 states
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level meeting on Saturday to review the recent spike in COVID-19 positive cases in eight states and Union Territories. Among these states/UTs that reported a surge in cases were Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, West Bengal, and Jammu & Kashmir. The Centre advised these states/UTs to enforce COVID-19-appropriate behavior while dealing with violations strictly. Here's more.
Asking the aforementioned states and UTs to not lower their guard, the Centre has directed them to ensure effective surveillance and tracking strategies, especially in the case of potential super spreader events. Cabinet Secretary Gauba has also emphasized the need for effective tracking, testing, and isolation of COVID-19 positive patients as well as quick quarantine of their close contacts.
Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Ministry underlined that six states—Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat—witnessed a rise in new cases in the last 24 hours. The situation in Maharashtra is concerning with 28 of its 36 districts reporting a surge in the daily cases since the past two weeks. It also continues to report the highest daily new cases—8,333 in the last 24 hours.
"Eight states are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases," the Ministry said. "In the last two weeks, Kerala has shown the maximum decline in the number of active cases, from 63,847 on February 14 to 51,679 today, while Maharashtra has shown the highest rise in active cases in the same period, from 34,449 on February 14 to 68,810 currently," it added.
On a more positive note, Maharashtra also registered the highest number of single-day recoveries with 4,936 newly-recovered cases in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, 4,142 patients recovered in Kerala followed by 642 recoveries in Karnataka. On the other hand, 113 COVID-19-related deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. While six states/UTs accounted for 82.3% of these deaths, 17 states/UTs haven't reported any deaths.
Meanwhile, the country is set to launch the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive on March 1 under which people aged above 60 years and those over 45 years with comorbidities will be inoculated. Also, private hospitals will participate in this phase. Beneficiaries need to pay up to Rs. 250/dose at private facilities while government-run medical facilities will offer the vaccine for free.