India recorded 61,537 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and 933 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Union health ministry, even as 16 districts in four states were asked to ramp up measures to control high mortality rates.
The country’s infection rally is now 2,088,611 and 1,427,005 patients of the coronavirus disease have been cured across the country, 48,900 between Friday and Saturday morning, taking the recovery rate to 68.32%. This is the second day in a row that India has reported a daily rise of more than 60,000 Covid-19 cases—there were 62,538 on Friday morning.
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The gap between active cases—619,088 so far—and recoveries has further widened to more than eight lakh, data also showed. The death toll stands at 42,518, according to the health ministry’s dashboard at 8am.
“Test, track, treat – effective implementation by the Centre and States/UTs has ensured that India has one of lowest Covid-19 cases and deaths per million population compared to several other countries,” the government said on Friday.
It also said that India has continued testing more than six lakh samples for the third consecutive day in a row. “India’s resolve to rapidly increase the number of tests done per day has resulted in a successful march towards 10 lakh/day testing capacity with 6,64,949 tests conducted in the last 24 hours,” a government release said.
The cumulative testing as on date has reached 2,21,49,351 and the tests per million have also seen a sharp rise to 16,050.
The health ministry has asked 16 districts in four states reporting higher Covid-19 mortality to adhere to measures suggested by central advisories and guidelines.
Rajesh Bhushan, the health secretary, met officials of district and state administration to analyse the factors driving the high mortality to come up with ways and means to reduce the rate.
These include Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat; Belagavi, Bengaluru urban, Kalaburagi and Udupi in Karnataka; Chennai, Kanchipuram, Ranipet, Theni, Thiruvallur, Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin and Virudhnagar in Tamil Nadu; Hyderabad and Medchal-Malkajgiri in Telangana.
Apart from the higher case mortality, these districts account for 17% of India’s active cases, high daily new cases, low tests per million, and high confirmation percentage.
The districts were advised to ensure that the advisories, guidelines and clinical treatment protocols issued by the Union health ministry are adopted and effectively implemented to reduce the mortality among Covid-19 patients and other preventable deaths among all sections of the people, particularly those with co-morbidities, pregnant women, the elderly and children.
“The states were advised to ensure optimum capacity utilisation of testing labs, increase tests per million population and reduce confirmation percentage, in addition to ensuring timely availability of ambulances with target zero refusal,” the ministry said in a release.
The government has also formed an expert committee comprising representatives from all relevant ministries and institutions to oversee all aspects of its Covid-19 vaccine plan.
The panel’s tasks include identification of the vaccine to buying to financing the purchase to distribution and administration—a move that comes even as six vaccines are in Phase 3 or combined Phase 2-3 trials and as countries around the world scramble to strike deals with multiple vaccine makers.
It will pick the vaccine or vaccines that India can use, plan the finances for what is sure to be an expensive purchase running into billions of dollars, and prioritise the sequence of administration.
India crossed two million Covid-19 cases on Thursday, three weeks after it crossed a million cases on July 16. It is the third worst-hit country in the world after the United States and Brazil as more than 19.6 million people across the world have contracted the viral disease and 720,074 have died.