More than 5,000 new cases of Coronavirus infections were reported on Sunday, the maximum till now, in an indication that an expected surge due to relaxation in the lockdown might finally be around the corner.
Even on Saturday, more than 4,800 cases were discovered, but that was mainly because Gujarat had decided to include over 700 positive cases detected during a weeklong special drive conducted in Ahmedabad. Otherwise, for almost a week, the daily increase in cases was hovering between 3,600 and 3,800, and before that between 3,000 and 3,500.
India had eased its lockdown rules from May 4 and had even allowed migrant workers to travel back to their homes, a decision that has resulted in lakhs of people being on the move for the last two weeks. And though hundreds of these people have since tested positive for the virus, there was no major surge in the overall numbers. The number of new cases being reported every day more or less followed a pattern that had been set prior to the easing of the lockdown. In fact, the doubling time of cases had been consistently on the decline all this while, a good indicator of the slowdown in the spread.
That seems set to change, now that even more relaxations have come into effect from Monday and a wide range of activities have been permitted. Maharashtra, the bellwether state in the country in this Coronavirus epidemic, reported more than 2,300 cases on Sunday, its highest for a day. Mumbai alone reported close to 1,600 cases.
Maharashtra now has more than 33,000 confirmed cases, while the number in the entire country stood at 95,865.
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Migrant workers continued to swell up the numbers in states like Bihar and Odisha, which are among the fastest-growing right now, even though they have a relatively modest caseload compared to the top five states. Bihar, which had reported 145 cases on Saturday, added another 106 on Sunday to take its total to 1284. Odisha reported 48 cases on Sunday and now has 876. Most of the new cases in these two states are among people returning from other places.
These two states also stand out because of the fact that a bulk of their caseload, more than 90 per cent in the case of Odisha, is concentrated outside of major urban centres, in tier II and III towns. In many other states, 50 to 70 per cent of the cases are in their large cities — Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Hyderabad in Telangana, Kolkata in West Bengal.
Delhi became the fourth state to cross the 10,000 figure mark on Sunday. With 299 new cases, its total stood at 10,054. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu all have more than 10,000 cases.
Elsewhere, Goa discovered ten more cases on Sunday. After its seven initial cases had recovered, the state did not have any case for more than a month, but in the last four days, 18 new infections have been detected all amongst people returning from other places. The latest group came on a train from New Delhi.
A resurgence is being noticed in other states as well. Telangana and Kerala have, for the last few days, been reporting many more cases than they were doing earlier, while Himachal Pradesh and Assam have begun to find cases after a long interval.
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