From Our Bureau  

20th SEPTEMBER 2020    

India witnessed a big spurt with 92,605 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Sunday, taking the country’s cumulative cases to 54,00,619. The death toll rose to 86,752, with 1,133 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours. The case fatality rate declined to 1.60 percent today.   

Incidentally, India has moved to the second place now in total number of COVID-19 positive cases among the countries across the world. It ranks next to the United States in overall number of cases. India now ranks third in total number of fatalities, after the United States and Brazil, which occupy the top two slots. Moreover, the daily tally of cases and deaths in India is the highest among all the countries across the globe now.

Meanwhile, India has also reported high recoveries of more than 94,000 for two successive days. As many as 94,612 recoveries have been registered in the last 24 hours in the country. With this, the total number of recoveries has crossed 43 lakh (43,03,043). This has resulted in the Recovery Rate touching 79.68 percent

Almost 60 percent of the new recovered cases are being reported from five States, viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Maharashtra continues to lead with more than 23,000 new cases of recovered patients. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh both have contributed more than 10,000 to the single day recoveries.

Of a total of 92,605 new confirmed cases reported in the last 24 hours in the country,  

52 percent of the new cases are concentrated in five states. These are also the States contributing maximum to the new recoveries. Maharashtra contributed more than

20,000 (22.16 percent) to the new cases. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka both have contributed more than 8,000.

Of the 1,133 deaths registered in the past 24 hours, 37 percent of deaths are reported from Maharashtra with 425 deaths followed by Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh with 114 and 84 deaths respectively.

As on date, there are 10,10,824 Active cases across the country, accounting for 18.72 percent of the total confirmed cases.

India has crossed a crucial milestone in the fight against COVID-19. In a landmark achievement, for the first time, a record number of more than 12 lakh COVID tests have been conducted in a single day.

With 12,06,806 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tests have crossed 6.36 crore (6,36,61,060). India’s daily testing numbers are one of the highest in the world.

This strongly demonstrates an exponential increase in the COVID-19 testing infrastructure in the country. The country’s testing capacities have multiplied manifold. From conducting merely 10,000 tests per day on 8th April, the daily average has crossed 12 lakhs today. The last one crore tests were conducted in merely 9 days.

Higher testing leads to early identification of positive cases, and timely and effective treatment. This eventually leads to lower mortality rate. As evidence has revealed, higher numbers of testing also subsequently result in lowered positivity rate. The sharp decline in daily positivity rate has demonstrated that the rate of spread of infection is being contained.

The Central Government’s policies in context of COVID 19 are continuously evolving. Following on the heels of several measures to facilitate wider testing by the people, recently the Central Government has provided for the first time ‘Testing on Demand. The States/Union Territories have also been given wider flexibilities to simplify modalities to enable higher levels of testing.

The Central Government has also allowed COVID-19 tests to be done on the prescription of any registered practitioner, and not exclusively a Government doctor. The Central Government has strongly advised States/UTs to take immediate steps to facilitate testing at the earliest by enabling all qualified medical practitioners, including private practitioners, to prescribe COVID test to any individual fulfilling the criteria for testing as per ICMR guidelines.

Higher testing forms an integral part of CHASE THE VIRUS strategy which aims to catch every missing person to curb spread of the infection. States have been advised that all symptomatic negatives of Rapid Antigen Tests are mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR.

Expanded diagnostic lab network and facilitation for easy testing across the country have given a sharp boost to the enhanced testing numbers. The Tests Per Million (TPM) population have been boosted to 46,131. In another row of achievements, 35 States/UTs have crossed the advised number of tests.

India has performed remarkably on fulfilling WHO’s advice of 140 tests/day/ million population. In its Guidance Note on “Public Health Criteria to Adjust Public Health and Social Measures in the Context of COVID-19,” WHO has advised this strategy.  

A prominent determinant of the strengthened testing numbers is the steadily widening diagnostic lab network in the country. This has grown to 1,773 labs today, including 1,061 labs in the government sector and 712 private labs. These include:  Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs: 902 (Govt: 475 + Private: 427), TrueNat based testing labs: 746 (Govt: 552 + Private: 194) and CBNAAT based testing labs: 125 (Govt: 34 + Private: 91). (eom)

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