COVID INDIA … At 29,000 cases a day, India’s Covid surge sees steady decline


NEWS COVID INDIA

KS Shankar / IHN-NN

NEW DELHI: Daily coronavirus infections in India fell to their lowest since mid-July, with 29,163 new cases reported for the last 24 hours — taking the total of infections since March last to 8.87million, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

The last time India reported less than 30,000 cases was in mid-July. The drop in cases follows a pattern of low detections on Mondays due to lesser testing over the weekend. In fact, tests have remained below 10 lakh for the last four days now.

Daily cases have fallen in India, the country with the second-highest number of infections behind the United States, since hitting a peak in September. Indians celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, over the weekend, and experts have warned that the festival season could lead to a new spike.

This is the tenth day when India reported less than 50,000 cases in a day. The last time daily new cases crossed the 50,000-threshold was on November 7.

The number of active cases continues to stay below the five lakh-mark and the number of patients discharged has reached 82,90,370.

The country recorded 449 new fatalities due to Covid-19 which pushed the death toll to 1,30,519 so far over the past nine months, according to the health ministry.

The single-day peak in coronavirus cases was reported on September 17 with 97,984 fresh cases of Covid-19 and since then India has been witnessing a decline in the caseload.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, and 30 lakh on August 23. It crossed 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, and 60 lakh on September 28. It rose to 70 lakh on October 11 and crossed 80 lakh on October 29.


According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, a  cumulative total of 12,65,42,907 samples have been tested up to November 16 with 8,44,382 samples being tested till today. India has also seen more daily new recoveries than cases for 45 successive days, bringing its active caseload down to 4.53 lakh. Some 40,791 patients fought off the viral disease successfully in the last 24 hours.

The recovery rate has improved by now to 93.4 per cent. The total recovered cases stands at 82,90,371.

The Union Health Ministry Tuesday reiterated the need to be careful and to properly implement “Covid-appropriate behaviour”. Keeping in mind the festive season complacencies, the health ministry highlighted that the “effects of polls, Durga Puja, Diwali may be seen in coming weeks. We have to keep watching new cases very carefully.”

Strictly following all the precautionary measures like not visiting crowded places, taking extra care of vulnerable sections of the society and maintaining a “2-feet” distance are still very important. “Don’t be hesitant to get yourself tested” in case of symptoms, the health ministry secretary said.

Though India is now past the first peak, the central and state governments are anticipating another surge, possibly more severe, in these winter months when respiratory infections rise. Many states in the north have been reporting a steady rise in Covid-19 infections.

SURGE IN DELHI

India’s daily cases have seen a steady decline since the middle of September, but New Delhi is battling the latest surge, recording more new cases than any other Indian state. Experts have attributed the surge to the festive season, dangerous pollution levels and the dip in temperatures.


Concerns remain over the ability of New Delhi’s health infrastructure to handle the severe caseload.


To tackle the rise in infections, the Union Home Ministry said it will airlift doctors from other regions to the capital, double the current testing numbers and provide 300 additional intensive care unit beds to fight the spread of the virus. On Sunday, Health minister Harsh Vardhan said the capital’s surge is “likely to worsen over the next few weeks.”

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday sent a proposal to the central government seeking permission to impose lockdowns in market areas, which he said may emerge as Covid-19 hotspots. He appealed to the people of the city, “with folded hands”, to wear masks and follow social distancing norms. He said his government, the Centre and other agencies were doubling efforts to control the situation in the national capital.

Delhi has reported lower numbers in the last two days, but this can be attributed to a decrease in testing. It remains, however, the highest contributor to India’s Covid-19 caseload.

Delhi witnessed significantly low numbers of coronavirus tests in the last 24 hours on Monday, with latest government figures recording 3,797 new cases and pushing the national capital’s total tally to 4,89,202. While the lesser number of cases reported in the last 24 hours in the national capital may bring a sigh of relief compared with earlier days where the daily cases spiked to as high as 8,500, the fact remains that the figures came after mere 29,821 tests in the 24 hours right after Diwali celebrations in Delhi.


The other worst-hit states are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. IHN-NN

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