From Our Bureau  

11th SEPTEMBER 2020    

India witnessed a big spurt with 96,551 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Friday, the highest-ever daily tally, taking the country’s cumulative cases to 45,62,414. The death toll rose to 76,271, with 1,209 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

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 been continuously reporting high number of recoveries. A total of 70,880 recoveries have been registered in the last 24 hours in the country. Maharashtra has alone contributed more than 14,000 and Andhra Pradesh has contributed more than 10,000 to the single-day recoveries.

With this, the total number of recoveries has touched 35,42,663 taking the Recovery Rate to 77.65 percent.

Almost 60 percent of the new recovered cases are being reported from five States, viz. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

Of the 96,551 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, Maharashtra alone has reported more than 23,000 cases and Andhra Pradesh over 10,000 cases.

Nearly 57 percent of the new cases are reported from only five States. These are the same States that are also contributing 60 percent of the new recovered cases.

The total number of active cases in the country stands at 9,43,480 as on date, accounting for 20.68 percent of the total positive cases.

Maharashtra is leading this tally with more than 2,60,000 cases, followed by  Karnataka with  more than 1,00,000 cases.

Nearly 74 percent of the total Active Cases are in nine most affected States. Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh contribute more than 48 percent of the total active cases.

Of the 1,209 deaths registered in the past 24 hours, Maharashtra has reported 495 deaths, followed by Karnataka with 129 deaths, whereas Uttar Pradesh has logged 94 deaths. The case fatality rate has dropped to 1.67 percent today.

The total number of samples tested in the country rose to 5,40,97,975 today, with 11,63,542 fresh tests conducted  tested in the last 24 hours.

Central Government exhorts the North Eastern States to break the Chain of Transmission

The Union Health Secretary held a video conference (VC) today to review the COVID management strategies and actions taken in the eight North Eastern States. The VC was attended by the Principal Secretaries, Health Secretaries and other State representatives from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. These 8 North Eastern States together account for less than 5 percent of the total active cases in the country.

With active cases numbering 29,690 (as on date), Assam is presently constituting 68 percent share in the total active caseload of these eight North Eastern States. Tripura has 7,383 active cases and occupies the second place with 17 percent of the total active caseload of these States.

The Union Secretary highlighted the need for continued enforcement of containment measures, increase in testing, and effective case management of patients in the hospitals. The Secretaries and representatives from the States shared an in-depth analysis on the current status of COVID-19 in these 8 States, covering aspects of containment measures, contact tracing, surveillance activities, facility-wise case fatality rates, trends in terms of weekly new cases and deaths, etc. They also shared their detailed roadmaps and action plans for the next one month.

Granularities in terms of split of RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests conducted in the State, re-testing percentages of symptomatic negatives from Antigen tests, testing lab utilization, hospitalization status and bed occupancies of oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds and ventilator etc., were also presented at the review meeting.

The States were advised to take steps on the specific areas: Limiting the spread of the infection by implementing stringent containment measures and following social distancing measures, strict peri-meter control, and active house-to-house case search; Early identification by ramping up testing across the states and districts, judicious and full utilization of RT-PCR testing capacity; Effective monitoring of home isolation cases and early hospitalization in case of disease progression; Seamless hospitalization and early admission for patients requiring medical support, especially in cases of co-morbid and elderly population; and keeping the mortality rate to 1 percent or less.

The Secretaries and other functionaries were urged to continue their efforts to manage the pandemic with the same rigor.

States/UTs made responsible to ensure that every hospitalized COVID patient receives oxygen

The Union Health Ministry has received reports that few States are trying to curb the free inter-State movement of oxygen supplies by exercising provisions under various Acts and also mandating the manufacturers/suppliers located in the State to restrict their oxygen supplies to only the hospitals of the State.

In view of this, the Health Ministry has reiterated the critical importance of Oxygen in hospitals for management of critical COVID patients. In a letter written to the States/Union Territories, Union Health Secretary has emphasised that availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.

The Health Secretary has urged the States/UTs to ensure that no restriction is imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between them. It has been strongly reinforced that it is every State’s responsibility to ensure that every hospitalized COVID patient receives oxygen.

It has been again brought to their notice that medical oxygen constitutes an Essential Public Health Commodity and any impediment in the supplies of medical oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from COVID-19 disease in other parts of the country. Moreover, some of the major oxygen manufacturers/supplies already have existing supply agreements with hospitals in various states with a legal obligation to fulfil such agreements.

The Central Government-led COVID management strategy is based on Standard of Care Treatment Guidelines. These Guidelines have ensured a uniform and standardised quality of medical care in all the COVID facilities, including hospitals. For moderate and severe cases, adequate oxygen support, appropriate and timely administration of anti-coagulants and widely available and inexpensive corticosteroids, in accordance with the protocol, can be considered to be the mainstay of COVID-19 therapy.

Adequate supply of oxygen throughout the country has enabled effective clinical care of the hospitalised moderate and severe cases, in conjunction with other measures. The adopted host of strategies have actively resulted in rising Recovery Rate and steadily declining Case Fatality Rate (1.67 percent currently).  As on date, less than 3.7 percent of active patients are on oxygen support. (eom)

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