The cases in India has crossed 1.73 lakhs. 7,964 cases were there in the last 24 hours. The central government has identified 145 new districts that have reported Covid-19 infections over the past three weeks. They could emerge as “epicentres” of the disease if effective containment measures are not undertaken.
Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba highlighted that eastern India is likely to be the next big Covid-19 hotspot.
Also, the cabinet secretary said 12 states, including Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha in eastern India had not reported many cases earlier. But now they have witnessed rapid infection spread in the three weeks until May 25. States such as Tripura and Manipur, too, have reported an increase in Covid-19 cases. Earlier the cases were in single digits.
The health ministry said,
Bigger states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh has around 1,65,000 cases until Thursday. India had reported 75,000 cases until May 13.
The ministry said the bigger states remained the main contributors to the surge. States such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha saw a great spike in cases.
“It is primarily because of the return of migrant workers from Covid-19 hotspot states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh that the cases increased in eastern India,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
“As the rush of migrant workers was huge, there was no proper screening of passengers at railway and bus stations. Therefore, many took infections from one state to another.”
Also, the ministry has identified the 145 districts. The governments need to “proactively” conduct containment activities here s that they do not become the epicentres.
According to the presentation,
2,147 active cases in these districts account for 2.5% of the total cases in India. Of these, 26 districts have more than 20 active cases.
Half of these districts are in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
Health secretary of Bihar Lokesh Kumar Singh said, the government is concerned as migrant workers are around two-thirds of about 3,200 cases in the state.
According to Jharkhand minister Rameshwar Oran, only a few cases have been reported from outside quarantine centres, which shows the virus has not spread. “We have been able to control the spread even though a large number of workers returned from infected places.”
Odisha’s additional chief secretary, Pradipta Kishore Mohapatra, said the state’s recovery rate is 41%. This is better than the national average of 42%.
“None of the new Covid patients is in ICU [intensive care units] or [on] ventilator [support] and we are confident of overcoming the crisis once all migrant workers return.”
According to Former Indian Medical Association president Dr K K Agarwal, the fatality and the confirmation rates in India were still less than the western countries. “Everybody expected the cases to increase ; it does not mean the lockdown failed. The lockdown has helped us to contain the spread.”