India sees 89,129 Covid-19 cases, 714 deaths in a day; highest in over 6 months

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India recorded the highest daily increase in the cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) since late September last years and daily deaths reached a five-month high as the second wave of the pandemic continues to sweep through the country, the Union ministry of health and family welfare’s data showed on Saturday. The country witnessed 89,129 new Covid-19 cases and 714 related deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry’s dashboard at 8am. It is the biggest single-day rise since September 20 last year and the most deaths since October 21, data shows. With the new infections and fatalities, the country’s tally mounted to 12,392,260 and its death toll to 164,110, data also showed.

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India’s active caseload also surged to 658,909 and with 44,202 discharges, its recovery tally is now at 11,569,241. With this, the national recovery rate is down to 93.35%. The health ministry’s dashboard also showed that 7,30,54,295 people have been vaccinated against the viral disease so far. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said 24,69,59,192 samples have been tested for Covid-19 up to April 2 and of these, 10,46,605 samples were tested on Friday.

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As the second wave has pushed the caseload of the country, which is the third worst-hit after the United States and Brazil, several states have clamped restrictions in areas that have reported a rise in coronavirus infections. In Maharashtra, authorities in Pune brought in stricter curbs, including a nightly curfew from Saturday and shut down bars, hotels and restaurants for the next seven days in the district.

The western state’s chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, said the state is on the verge of a complete lockdown as he appealed to political parties and industrialists opposing the lockdown to cooperate. Thackeray also warned that beds in hospital will start falling short in the next 15 days if the current spike in cases of the coronavirus disease continues. He said he would speak to various political leaders and experts over the next two days and make a decision over the lockdown.

Also read | Maharashtra records over 190,000 Covid-19 cases this week

The Centre has said that Maharashtra, where is said the situation is “particularly worrying”, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Haryana are among regions of “grave concern” with a surge in Covid-19 cases. It said these areas have reported 90% of India’s Covid-19 cases over the past 14 days and haven’t “shown a commensurate increase in enforcement of containment activities.”

The government also told them to increase testing continuously to ensure that positivity comes down to 5% or less than 5%. It advised them to focus on ensuring RT-PCR tests comprise 70% of the total test, reduce waiting time of test results with regular review with testing labs, use Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) as a screening test in densely populated areas and where fresh clusters are emerging, and ensure that all symptomatic RAT negatives are mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests.

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