AGENCIES, New Delhi: The Centre has deployed 15 teams, consisting of public health experts, epidemiologists and other specialists, to support states in the battle to contain a seemingly relentless wave of COVID-19 infections, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was informed during the 17th Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting held on Saturday afternoon.
The Health Minister was also told that eight states — Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal — had contributed to 85.5 per cent of active caseload and 87 per cent of all COVID-19 related deaths in the country.
Maharashtra (1.53 lakh cases, 7,106 deaths), Delhi (77,240 cases, 2,492 deaths) and Tamil Nadu (74,622 cases, 957 deaths) are the three worst-affected regions, with Gujarat reporting over 30,000 cases and UP more than 20,000.
India has recorded over five lakh confirmed cases since the outbreak began in China in December last year. Of these, 1.98 lakh are active cases and 15,685 are deaths linked to the infectious virus.
The country has seen a worrying surge in fresh cases over the past two weeks coinciding with Unlock1, the government’s phased restart of economic activity, with 18,552 cases detected in the preceding 24 hours, according to government data.
As the new cases pile up, the Health Minister pointed out that the national recovery rate (percentage of people to have recovered) had crossed 58 per cent, and that the mortality rate (percentage of deaths) was near three per cent (approximately 3.08 per cent), “which is very less”. Earlier this month Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the mortality rate was 2.82 per cent, “which is one of the lowest in the world”.
Reviewing the preparedness to handle existing and future waves of infection, Dr Vardhan said there were now 1,026 diagnostic labs dedicated to testing for COVID-19, including 285 in the private sector.