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Have to take quick and decisive steps to stop the second peak of coronavirus cases in the country: PM Modi

India recorded its highest Covid-19 tally in 102 days on Wednesday with 35,886 patients testing positive for the virus as Maharashtra continued to be the worst-affected state as the fresh wave of infections surges, accounting for 64%of the daily count in India.

Maharashtra added 23,179 fresh cases, the highest in six months since September 17 (24,619 cases). With this, Maharashtra reported a 30% increase in cases compared to Tuesday, taking the total caseload of the state to 23,70,507. From March 1 to March 17, the daily cases in the state have risen four times.

The daily case count in several cities in Maharashtra was higher than the total case count of worst affected states like Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Apart from Maharashtra, as many as 17 states and Union territories on Wednesday logged highest count of fresh cases since January or earlier.

These were: Punjab (2,039 cases, highest since September 23), Karnataka (1,275, highest since December 9), Gujarat (1,122, highest since December 16), Tamil Nadu (945, highest since December 29), Chhattisgarh (887, highest since January 9), Madhya Pradesh (832, highest since December 31), Haryana (555, highest since December 20), Delhi (536, highest since January 6), Rajasthan (313, highest since January 13), Bengal (303, highest since January 24), UP (261, highest since January 26), Telangana (247, highest since Jan 20), Chandigarh (201, highest since September 26), Himachal (167, highest since January 1), J&K (126, highest since January 17), Uttarakhand (110, highest since January 23) and Puducherry (52, highest since December 2).

According to figures released by the Union health ministry in Delhi, daily new cases in the country are increasing at around 43% week-on-week, whereas a 37% rise in daily new deaths has been recorded. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said data shows that 70 districts in 16 states have registered over 150% increase in cases during March 1-15, whereas the infection is rising at 100-150% in 55 districts in 17 states. “Most of these districts are in west and north India,” he said, adding that Maharashtra still accounts for 60% of all active cases as well as 45% of new deaths.

The average daily new cases are also increasing rapidly in the state. The weekly moving average of new cases has risen from 7,741 cases on March 1 to 13,527 on March 15.

Similarly, in states like Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, tests have failed to keep pace with increasing number of cases and positivity rates. In many states and UTs like Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, MP, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, the share of RT-PCR is also significantly low.

The Centre has advised states witnessing a surge to increase tests in proportion to the positivity rate and also maintain the share of RT-PCR at a minimum of 70%. The health ministry has also asked states to ensure strict adherence to mask wearing, physical distancing and hand hygiene along with greater vigilance and monitoring at the highest levels for all potential events where crowds gather.

Here are the highlights from PM Modi’s address:

  • · The confidence we have achieved from our battle against the coronavirus should not be turned into carelessness. We have to solve the problem without creating panic.
  • · We need to continue our strategy of ‘test, track and treat’. We need to track the maximum number of contacts of an infected person and we need to keep the RT-PCR test rate above 70%.
  • · If we don’t stop Covid right now, then there could be a nationwide outbreak. We will have to immediately stop the emerging second wave of Corona and for this, we will have to take quick and decisive steps.
  • · Must curb vaccine wastage as much as possible. This is something that must not happen and needs urgent attention.
  • · India’s fight against Covid cited as example in world, our recovery rate over 96 percent & fatality among lowest. Today in India more than 96% of the cases have recovered. India is one of those countries where the fatality rate is one of the lowest.
  • · Vaccine and strictness should be our motto for now. We have to increase testing in small cities.
  • · We don’t have to bring the public into panic mode. We don’t have to bring a situation where there is an atmosphere of fear. We have to free the people off difficulties by taking some precautions and initiatives.