New Delhi: The coronavirus situation is “turning from bad to worse” and is a huge cause of worry especially for some states, the Centre said on Tuesday while stressing that the whole country is at risk and nobody should be complacent.
It said eight of the top 10 COVID-19 high-burden districts of the country are from Maharashtra and that Delhi, taken as one district, is also on the list.
At a press conference, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the 10 districts with maximum active COVID-19 cases are Pune (59,475), Mumbai (46,248), Nagpur (45,322), Thane (35,264), Nashik (26,553), Aurangabad (21,282), Bengaluru Urban (16,259), Nanded (15,171), Delhi (8,032), Ahmednagar (7,952).
Though technically speaking, Delhi has many districts, but it has been taken as one district, he said.
NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said, “COVID-19 situation is turning from bad to worse. In last few weeks, especially in some states, it is a huge cause for worry. No state, no part of the country or district should be complacent.”
“We are facing an increasingly severe and intense situation, more so surely in some districts. But the whole country is potentially at risk and therefore all efforts to contain and save lives should be taken.
“Hospital and ICU preparations have to be readied. If the cases increase rapidly, the healthcare system would be overwhelmed, Paul said.
About surge in case positivity rates, Bhushan said Maharashtra last week had an average positivity rate of 23 per cent, followed by Punjab 8.82 per cent, Chattisgarh 8.24 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 7.82 per cent, Tamil Nadu 2.5 per cent, Karnataka 2.45 per cent, Gujarat 2.22 per cent, and Delhi 2.04 per cent.
The average national positivity rate during last week was 5.65 per cent.
All states and Union Territories are reporting a surge in cases and there is a need to significantly and exponentially increase the number of COVID-19 tests. The proportion of RT-PCR tests need to be increased too, Bhushan said.
“On Saturday, we held meeting with these states and also spoke to 47 districts. We requested them to increase the number of tests with a special focus on RT-PCR tests. Rapid antigen tests must be used for screening and in densely populated areas where cases are coming in clusters. The preferred test should be the RT-PCR ones,” he said.
On variants of the virus, the health secretary said 10 laboratories have done genome sequencing of 11064 samples since December of which the UK variant was detected in 807 samples, South African variant in 47 and Brazilian variant in one.
A total of 6,11,13,354 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered till 10 am. About 81,74,916 healthcare workers got the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 51,88,747 the second dose. As many as 89,44,742 frontline workers got the first dose and 37,11,221 the second dose.
Bhushan also said that 48.39 per cent, Telangana tops the list of states with the highest COVID-19 vaccine doses given in private facilities. Delhi came second with 43.11 per cent vaccinations in private facilities, he said.
From April 1, people above the age of 45 years would be eligible for vaccination. They can register themselves in the CoWIN platform, the Aarogya Setu app or go for on-site registrations which would start after 3 pm, the health ministry said.