Tuesday, June 18, 2024

India records biggest single-day spike in COVID cases in 6 months

Covid H3N2

3,016 infections recorded

NEW DELHI, MARCH 30: India saw a single-day rise of 3,016 fresh Coronavirus cases, the highest in nearly 6 months, while the active cases increased to 13,509, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. A total of 3,375 cases were recorded on October 2 last year.
The country’s COVID-19 death toll has increased to 5,30,862 with 14 latest fatalities ~ 3 reported by Maharashtra, 2 from Delhi and 1 reported by Himachal Pradesh in a span of 24 hours and 8 reconciled by Kerala as per PTI.
According to the Ministry data updated at 8 a.m., the daily positivity was recorded at 2.73%, while the weekly positivity was pegged at 1.71%. The infection tally stands at 4.47 crore (4,47,12,692).
The active cases now comprise 0.03% of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has been recorded at 98.78%, according to the Health Ministry website.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,41,68,321, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.19%.
The Ministry, citing the rising counts, has asked Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu to monitor new and emerging clusters of COVID-19 cases and take pre-emptive action in any areas of concern to control the spread of infection.
Indian hospitals to hold anti-COVID drills
Secretary of the Ministry of Health Rajesh Bhushan held a meeting with officials from various states and reviewed the nation’s COVID preparedness.
State authorities have also been told to undertake mock drills at health facilities on April 10 and 11 to ensure the operational readiness of medical infrastructure.
Several States will chair emergency meetings to review the alarming rise in COVID-19 infections. The Delhi Government held a meeting on Thursday to review the COVID-19 situation in the national capital as the national capital’s tally of infections climbed to 300 for the first time since August 31 last year.
New variant driving up cases
Scientists suspect the observed rise in infections is likely driven by a new Coronavirus variant called XBB.1.16 identified in India earlier this month by Rajesh Karyakarte, Professor of Microbiology, and his team at the BJ Medical College, Pune.
The XBB.1.16 is a recombinant lineage of the virus and is a descendent of the XBB lineage of COVID-19. The variant was first found in January when two samples tested positive for the variant.
In February, 140 samples of the XBB 1.16 variant were found. In March, 207 XBB 1.16 variant samples have been found till now, according to INSACOG data.
Expanding vaccination coverage
According to the Ministry’s website, 220.65 crore doses of COVID vaccine have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.
But Government data shows only about 30% of the eligible population has so far received a third or booster dose.
Authorities say they are trying to expand this coverage, especially among high-risk and vulnerable sections of society.
Giridhara Babu, an Epidemiologist, said “proactive surveillance” was key to efforts to prevent another mass outbreak of Coronavirus infections.
“Despite XBB.1.16 being potentially more contagious than other omicron variants, there is no evidence to suggest that it leads to higher disease severity or increased hospitalization and mortality rates”, he stressed.
“With COVID now endemic, it is crucial to continue proactive surveillance efforts to guide the future course of action.” (Courtesy: TT)