Another daily COVID spike as Centre rolls out Tika Utsav, states tighten curbs
The country on Sunday recorded yet another daily surge of 1,52,879 COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of cases to 1,33,58,805 even as the government rolled out the ‘Tika Utsav’, a vaccination drive which between April 11 and 14 aims to inoculate the most number of eligible people against COVID-19
The active cases breached the 11-lakh mark for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. This is also the fifth consecutive day when daily cases have breached the 1 lakh-mark.
According to Union health ministry data updated on Sunday, the death toll increased to 1,69,275 with 839 daily new fatalities, the highest since October 18, 2020.
This is the 32nd consecutive day when cases have shown a steady rise. Active cases which have to 11,08,087 comprise 8.29 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate further dropped to 90.44 per cent.
The active caseload was at its lowest at 1,35,926 on February 12 and at its highest at 10,17,754 on September 18, 2020. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,20,81,443, while the case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.27 per cent, the data stated.
Several states have tightened restrictions including imposing weekend lockdowns, night curfews and sealing of inter-state borders in view of the increase in infections.
The Delhi government which recently announced an indefinite closure of educational institutions and a 10 pm-5 am night curfew, on Saturday (April 10) imposed fresh curbs which will be applicable till April 30. It includes a ban on all political, social, religious and cultural gatherings. Government offices, public transport services as well as restaurants and bars will operate at 50 per cent capacity. While only 50 people can attend weddings, the number of attendees to funeral has been capped at 20. However, essential services like police, fire department and district administrations will operate as usual. The curbs came after the national capital added 7,897 new infections and 39 deaths on Saturday, bringing its tally to 7.1 lakh.
Anticipating a surge in cases during the upcoming Navratri and Ramzan festivals, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday imposed a ban on the gathering of more than five people in religious places. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also asked officials to keep an additional 4,000 beds ready in Lucknow in the next two weeks, to handle the situation in case of a crisis. The state on Saturday recoded 12,787 fresh cases and 48 deaths, taking its total infection tally to 6,76,739.
Odisha which is implementing a night curfew in 10 western districts, on Sunday sealed its borders with neighbouring Chhattisgarh and ramped up patrolling near the inter-state border to avoid an inflow of cases. The government has doubled the penalty for those not wearing masks – ₹2,000 for the first two violations and ₹5,000 for the subsequent one.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra which accounts for more than 50 per cent of the total active cases is likely to see a lockdown in the coming days. Sources who attended a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, the state may implement a 15-day lockdown although the final decision will be taken after meetings are held on Sunday and Monday. The state currently has imposed both a weekend curfew and a night curfew as well as curbed public gathering at various places. The restrictions which will be applicable till April 30, may be extended to another two weeks.
The Centre says, so far 10.15 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to eligible beneficiaries as part of its inoculation drive. Over the past few days several states including Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Telangana have sent alerts to the Centre, complaining of vaccine shortage and of being forced to close inoculation centres. The Centre, however, has rubbished the claims.
The new surge of cases on Sunday coincides with the Centre’s Tika Utsav. On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made several suggestions to people on tackling the virus and urged them to focus on personal and social hygiene.
In a statement, he urged people to keep four things in mind, including “each one, vaccinate one”, “each one, treat one” and “each one, save one”. Elderly people or those who may not be much educated should be helped in getting the vaccine, he said, and also asked people to help those COVID-19 patients in getting treatment who may lack resources or information.
“By wearing masks, people can save themselves and others,” Modi added. He also asked families and members of the society to take lead in setting up micro containment zones in case of anyone getting the infectious disease, saying this is an important way to fight the disease in a densely populated country like India.
“Our success will be decided by how much aware we are about micro containment zones. Our success will be decided by us not stepping outside homes when not needed. Our success will be decided by that those eligible for the vaccine get it. Our success will be decided by as to how much we adhere to wearing masks and following other protocols,” he said. “Anyone eligible for the vaccine should get the jab, and for this the society and administration have to make full efforts,” he added.
India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 25,66,26,850 samples have been tested up to April 10 with 14,12,047 samples being tested on Saturday.
(With inputs from agencies)