From Our Bureau  

5th SEPTEMBER 2020

India witnessed a big spurt with 86,432 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Saturday, the highest ever tally for a single day, taking the country’s cumulative cases to 40,23,179. The death toll rose to 69,561, with 1,089 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

India has moved to third place in total number of fatalities and positive cases among countries across the world. It ranks after the United States and Brazil, which occupy the top two slots. Incidentally, the daily tally of cases and deaths in India is the highest among all the countries across the globe.

However, India’s TEST, TRACK and TREAT strategy is showing tangible results. The Recovery Rate of India touched a record high of more than 70,000 patients being discharged in a single day. The highest-ever single day recoveries of 70,072 were recorded in the last 24 hours.

With this high number of recovery of COVID-19 patients in the hospitals and home isolation, the Recovery Rate now is 77.23 percent. This has also led to the declining Case Fatality Rate, which stands at a new low of 1.73 percent today.

Early identification through TESTING has led to higher daily number being reported but surveillance and contact TRACING along with focus on timely and appropriate clinical TREATMENT of patients have ensured speedy recovery. Higher number of recoveries and declining fatality has shown that India’s graded strategy has worked.

India has posted more than 22.6 lakh recoveries than the active cases, numbering 8,46,395. The active cases currently comprise only 21.04 percent of the total positive cases.

The total number of recoveries has crossed 31 lakh (31,07,223) today. Five States have contributed to 60 percent of the total recoveries. Maharashtra has contributed the maximum recoveries amounting to almost 21 percent, followed by Tamil Nadu (12.63 percent) ,Andhra Pradesh (11.91 percent), Karnataka (8.82 percent) and Uttar Pradesh (6.14 percent).

Central Government exhorts Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to focus on breaking the Chain of Transmission and keeping the Mortality below 1 percent

The Health Ministry has been regularly engaging with States and Union Territories which have been exhibiting either a sudden surge in COVID cases, high caseload or reporting a higher mortality in some districts.

The Central Government today exhorted the States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to focus on undertaking aggressive measures to break the chain of transmission and to ensure that the mortality is kept below 1 percent. The States have been advised to proactively ensure higher testing, effective clinical management to lower fatality and save lives along with efficient monitoring at various levels.

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka account for about 46 percent of active cases reported nationally in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra alone accounts for 22 percent of all active cases reported in the last 24 hours.

Similarly, these three states account for 52 percent of all COVID deaths reported across the country in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra alone accounted for 35 percent of all deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

The Union Home Ministry also highlighted the districts of concern in each State. In Maharashtra, Pune, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Sangli, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Raigad, Jalgaon, Solapur, Satara and Palghar were highlighted and need for effective containment and contact tracing was emphasized.

In Andhra Pradesh, Prakasam and Chittoor were highlighted as districts of concern and the need for daily monitoring of facility wise deaths, strengthening of hospital facilities, increasing the number of ICUs, oxygen beds and efficient clinical management were focused upon.

In Karnataka, the highlighted districts of Koppal, Mysuru, Davangere and Bellari were advised to optimally utilize RT-PCR testing facilities,  to strengthen their door to door active case search and to protect their healthcare workers.

In cumulative terms, five States account for more than 60 percent of the total active cases in the country. Maharashtra contributes maximum to the active case load amounting to almost 25 percent, followed by Andhra Pradesh (12.06 percent), Karnataka (11.71 percent), Uttar Pradesh (6.92 perdent) and Tamil Nadu which stands at 6.10 percent.

Of these, three States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka account for nearly 49 percent of the Active Cases and more than 57 percent of COVID deaths.

Of the total deaths in the country, 70 percent are recorded in just five States of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. Maharashtra alone accounts for 37.33 percent of the total deaths.

Health Ministry issues Updated Advisory on COVID-19 testing, introduces ‘On-demand’ Testing for the first time

There has been an unprecedented upsurge in India’s daily testing capacities. For two successive days more than 11.70 lakh tests have been conducted per day. A total of 4.77 crore tests have been done so far across the country. There are now 1,647 testing laboratories operational which cover all States/UTs. It is in this background that the Health Ministry has issued the updated Testing Advisory. 

On recommendations of the National Task Force on COVID-19, the new Advisory has further simplified the testing process and given more freedom and flexibilities to the State authorities to facilitate enhanced ease of testing for the people.

For the first time, along with more simplified modalities, the updated Guidelines provide for ‘On-demand’ testing in order to ensure higher levels of testing.

The Advisory elaborates on the choice of tests (in order of priority) in various given settings.

A totally new section has been added in the Advisory on “Testing on Demand” which for all practical purposes does away with prescription by a registered medical practitioner although State governments have the freedom to decide on simplified modalities.

The new section reads thus-

Testing on demand (State Governments to decide simplified modalities):

All individuals undertaking travel to countries/Indian states mandating a negative COVID-19 test at point of entry.

All individuals who wish to get themselves tested.

Tracking and contact tracing mechanisms should be ensured by the testing laboratories by notifying the public health authorities.

Frequency of testing :

A single RT-PCR/ TrueNat/ CBNAAT/ RAT positive test is to be considered confirmatory, without any repeat testing.

No re-testing is recommended prior to discharge from a COVID-19 facility after clinical recovery (as per MoHFW guidelines), including for transfer from a COVID area/ facility to a non-COVID area/ facility. If symptoms develop following a negative RAT test, a repeat RAT or RT-PCR should be done. (eom)

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