NEW DELHI: India’s death toll from the Covid-19 outbreak surged past 100 with 27 patients succumbing to the infection in the past 24 hours or so, the highest number of casualties reported in a day so far, with Maharashtra alone reporting 13 deaths on Sunday.
The number of coronavirus cases also went past 4,000 as states reported 541 fresh cases on Sunday, the fourth straight day of 500-plus infections in the country. The number of cases has doubled in the past four days, going from a little over 2,000 on April 1 to more than 4,200 till the time of going to press on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Centre released data that showed how the recent surge in cases are significantly linked to the infections spread through the Tablighi Jamaat congregations in Delhi’s Nizamuddin last month.
Minus the cases linked to the event, India’s Covid-19 cases would have doubled in 7.4 days, whereas it is doubling in 4.1 days at present because several infected members of the Jamaat dispersed across the country to spread the virus multiple times.
“The doubling rate, which means in how many days the number of Covid-19 cases double, at present is 4.1 days. But if cases reported due to the Tablighi Jamaat event, had not come, then the doubling rate would have been 7.4 days,” health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said.
According to the health ministry, a total of 3,374 positive cases and 79 deaths were reported from across the country till Sunday. Of this, at least 472 new cases and 11 deaths were reported in last 24 hours, according to health ministry data. The ministry’s numbers are likely to be at variance with those reported by the state governments due to a time lag in collating and cross-checking data.
On Saturday, the ministry had said 30% of the total cases reported in the country so far were linked to Tablighi Jamaat.
Around 274 districts across the country have reported Covid-19 cases so far. With increasing transmission of the disease to wider geographies, the Cabinet secretary had asked district magistrates and collectors of different districts with larger number of cases to share their experience with other districts. In a meeting on Sunday, district administrations from such districts including Bhilwara, Agra, Gautam Buddh Nagar, East Delhi and Mumbai shared their observations.
“The two key observations about strategies that worked were – one, proactive and ruthless implementation of containment measures at field level, and preparedness to the extent of being over-prepared,” Agarwal said.
Besides, the government has decided to have a crisis management plan for Covid-19 in every district.
The government also allayed concerns over the spread of the virus through air, clarifying that the infection only transmits via droplets released due to coughing, sneezing and from the breath of a Covid-19 patient.
“The coronavirus infection is not airborne but a droplet infection. Had it been an airborne infection, every person in a family of an infected person would have caught the virus because they all would be breathing the air infected by the family member. The same would apply for other patients in a hospital. In some cases, scientists have found it in some settings,” said Dr R R Gangakhedkar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
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