Updated: May 8, 2021 7:19:34 am
Twenty-four states have reported a test positivity rate of more than 15 per cent for Covid-19 over the last week, the government said on Friday.
At least 30 districts had showed “a steep upward trend” in cases over the last two weeks. The data were a “matter of great concern”, the Health Ministry said.
The country’s total active caseload was 36,45,164 on Friday. A record 4,14,188 cases had been reported over the previous 24 hours, along with 3,915 deaths, the government said.
Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Health Arti Ahuja said seven states had reported a very high test positivity rate of 30 per cent or more over the past week: Goa (48.5 per cent), Haryana (36.1 per cent), Puducherry (34.9 per cent), West Bengal (33.1 per cent), and Karnataka, Delhi, and Rajasthan (29.9 per cent each).
“There are 12 states with more than 1 lakh active cases, and seven states with 50,000 to 1 lakh active cases. Case positivity is an important indicator that shows how the cases are spread across [the country]. There are only three states with less than 5 per cent positivity, and nine states have positivity between 5 and 15 per cent. Twenty-four states have more than 15 per cent positivity. The high positivity is the cause of concern for us and the country,” Ahuja said.
Rising in the South
As many as 20 of the 30 districts showing a “steep upward trend week-on-week” in daily new cases were in southern India, government data show — 10 in Kerala, seven in Andhra Pradesh, and three in Karnataka.
Twelve states and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir were showing a “continued increasing trend in daily new cases”, Ahuja said. These states were Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Haryana, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Assam, and Himachal Pradesh, she said.
Among the 30 districts showing a “steep upward trend week-on-week” in daily new cases, as many as 10 were in Kerala – Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Palakkad, Kollam, and Kannur.
There were two districts each in Haryana (Gurugram, Faridabad), West Bengal (North 24-Paraganas, Kolkata), and Maharashtra (Satara, Solapur). Chennai, Patna, and Khurda (Odisha) are also among the 30 districts.
However, barely two days after saying that a third wave of infection was “inevitable” given the high levels at which the virus was circulating, the government’s top scientific adviser on Friday said that if strong measures were implemented, the third wave may not, in fact, hit India.
Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister Dr K VijayRaghavan said: “…It may be useful to talk about location, timing, and intensity of the infections, instead of waves and their number. If we take strong measures, the third wave may not happen in all the places, or indeed anywhere at all.”
A lot depends on “how effectively the guidance is implemented at the local level in the states,” Dr VijayRaghavan said. “The guidance about precaution, surveillance, containment, treatment, and testing. This insidious asymptomatic transmission can be stopped if we follow the guidance,” he said.
In an interview given to The Indian Express last month, Dr VijayRaghavan had made the same point. “India may peak in May, but much depends on what we do by way of behaviour,” he had said. Things could still turn around: “It is not that the situation has to deteriorate further. With immediate strong action, it is possible to prevent further deterioration.” What was “absolutely crucial”, however, was “masks and physical distancing”, he had said.
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