File photo used only for representation
NEW DELHI: India's Covid-19 tally saw a record addition of nearly 10,000 cases on Tuesday to cross 2.6 lakh as hundreds more tested positive for the dreaded virus in several states and Union territories. The Delhi government said the national capital itself may see 5.5 lakh cases by July-end at the current rate.
The Union health ministry said central teams have been deployed in 15 states and UTs with districts or municipal bodies witnessing major spurt in cases to assist the local administrations in containment and management of the outbreak.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said India is in a better position in the Covid-19 fight compared to many countries but cautioned against any complacency.
"Let us also not forget the 'social vaccine' against Covid-19 through strict adherence of norms of physical distancing, hand hygiene and mask/face covers," he said.
While the single-day nationwide count of cases rose for the seventh consecutive day on Tuesday, the overall tally has risen by more than 75,000 since June 1, which marked the beginning of the exit from the over-two-month-long nationwide lockdown.
Under the latest phase of unlocking, malls, religious places and restaurants also reopened on Monday in various states. Offices and several other establishments have also reopened, except in containment areas with high caseloads.
While Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana figure among the states accounting for a bulk of new cases since June 1, even Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand have seen significant rise in their respective numbers.
India is the fifth worst-hit nation by the Covid-19 pandemic after the US, Brazil, Russia and the UK, according to the Johns Hopkins University data. Globally, more than 71.5 lakh people have tested positive for the virus ever since its emergence in China last December, while more than 4 lakh have lost their lives.
However, over 33 lakh people have recovered too worldwide, including nearly 1.3 lakh in India with a recovery rate of nearly 48.5 per cent. Close to 50 lakh people have been tested in India so far.
In its morning update, the Union health ministry said the total number of cases has risen to 2,66,598 and the death toll has increased to 7,466, registering a jump of 9,987 new cases and 266 fatalities since Monday 8am.
However, a PTI tally of figures announced by different states and UTs, as of 9.30pm, showed the total number of cases across the country having risen to 2,65,498 and the death toll to 7,710.
The multi-disciplinary central teams have been deployed in Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha.
These teams are helping the states and UTs address challenges like testing bottlenecks, low tests per million population, high confirmation rates, risk of capacity shortfall over the next two months, potential bed shortage, growing case fatality rate, high doubling rate and sudden spike in active cases, etc, the ministry said.
In Delhi, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the national capital may see its own case count reach 5.5 lakh by July 31 at the current rate of doubling of cases of 12.6 days, from nearly 30,000 at present.
He, however, said the central government officials have maintained there was no community transmission of the novel coronavirus virus in Delhi.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said the source of infection is "not known" in nearly half of the fresh cases being reported. He also said that the Kejriwal government is making all the preparations to handle the huge rush of patients estimated by June end.
A Delhi government panel has suggested using Pragati Maidan and various stadiums in the city as makeshift Covid-19 facility to deal with the surge in the number of cases, an official said.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had gone into self-quarantine on Sunday after he developed a sore throat and fever, has tested negative for Covid-19. He was tested on Tuesday morning. The fever has subsided and he is now feeling well, an official said.
BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has, however, tested positive for Covid-19 and has been admitted to a private hospital in the national capital. His mother Madhavi Raje Scindia has also tested positive.
Disinvestment secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey has also tested positive for Covid-19 and is under home quarantine, according to sources. He got himself tested after developing mild fever and was found to be infected by the dreaded coronavirus.
Consequently, some other officers of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) have also gone for home quarantine, while its office has been sealed for sanitisation. This is the third case in the department.
New cases emerged from several other parts of the country as well, including in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Tripura, Nagaland, Assam and Ladakh.
Odisha's Covid-19 tally crossed the 3,000-mark with 146 more people testing positive for the infection. These new cases include 49 NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) personnel and 12 ODRAF (Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force) personnel, who tested positive after returning to the state from West Bengal. They had gone to West Bengal for cyclone Amphan restoration work.
The Meghalaya government withdrew its earlier order that allowed religious places to reopen doors to devotees from June 14, and said congregations of any kind would have to be avoided for the time being, given the unrelenting rise in Covid-19 cases.
In Mizoram, a complete lockdown was clamped in capital Aizawl, 10 other district headquarter towns and containment areas in view of the rapidly rising novel coronavirus cases in the state, according to an official order.
Andhra Pradesh saw its tally cross the 5,000-mark with 216 fresh cases, while its death toll rose to 77.
Uttar Pradesh reported its highest single-day spike of 18 Covid-19 deaths, taking the toll past the 300-mark, while 388 new cases were detected to push the case count to 11,335.
Kerala continued to reel under the impact of returnees testing positive for Covid-19 as 91 fresh cases were reported in the state on Tuesday, taking the total number of people under treatment to 1,231. Of the fresh cases, as many as 53 came from abroad while 27 from other states. Ten people contracted the disease through contact, the state government said.
The total Covid-19 cases in the state rose to 2,095 and the death toll remained unchanged at 16.
Tamil Nadu recorded a new single-day record increase of 1,685 cases, taking ita tally to 34,914, while 21 more people died to take the toll to 307. Chennai's own tally rose to 24,545 with 1,242 new cases.
Maharashtra, the worst-hit state, reported 2,259 new cases to take its tally to 90,787, while its death toll rose by 120 to 3,289.
More than 1,000 new cases were reported in Mumbai alone, pushing its tally past 50,000, while the death toll rose by 58 to 1,758.
Gujarat, another badly hit state, reported 470 new cases, including 331 in Ahmedabad. The state's tally has now risen to 21,044, while its death toll has mounted to 1,313. Ahmedabad alone now has 14,962 cases, while Surat has 2,207 and Vadodara 1,360.