The number of districts which have reported COVID-19 cases now stands at 132.
Of the 312 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported from across the country in the last three days, 80% were from 16 cities and districts. Five of these — Delhi, Mumbai, Bhilwara (Rajasthan), Kasaragod (Kerala) and Nawanshahr (Punjab) — account for over 40% of these cases.
With 194 fresh cases, including two deaths, being reported in the last 24 hours — the highest single-day spike till now was 88 on March 26 — the count has now gone up to 918. While 79 have recovered, 19 have died.
The other districts which saw a spike in the last three days are: Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh; Pathanamthitta and Kannur in Kerala; Pune and Sangli in Maharashtra; Gautam Buddh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh; Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Karimnagar (Telangana), Leh (Ladakh) and Chennai (Tamil Nadu).
A government source said three of these areas — Mumbai, Pune and Pathanamthitta — have emerged as “real hotspots, with transmission even in second and third generation contacts of the index patient”.
“However, you have to understand that these lists are dynamic and change with the spread of the disease. A district that is in the top five today can be overtaken by another tomorrow. It is not a reflection of the containment efforts,” said the source.
A second generation contact refers to a patient who has got the infection from a contact of the index patient. And a third generation contact is a patient who has got the infection from a second generation contact.
The number of districts which have reported COVID-19 cases now stands at 132; it was 75 when the 21-day lockdown was imposed earlier this week. For about 80-odd cases, the districts from where they have been reported are still being ascertained.
Hyderabad: Police personnel wearing protective masks, in wake of coronavirus pandemic, stand guard near Charminar during Friday prayers amid nationwide lockdown, in Hyderabad, March 27, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI27-03-2020_000123B)
Meanwhile, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said: “As the situation is evolving, our focus is on high disease burden hotspots where, along with the state government, we are doing community surveillance, rigorous contact tracing and containment strategy. We are ensuring effective implementation of the lockdown and social distancing. We are also concentrating on health infrastructure preparedness, dedicated hospitals and ICU beds for COVID patients.”
He said both the patients who died in the last 24 hours were above 65 years; one had hypertension and diabetes.
While all international flights have been stopped since March 22, there is special focus on those who arrived at the international airports in Indore, Bhopal, Kannur, Surat and Ahmedabad before that. The process of tracing contacts can take a long time, said officials.
Talking about the contact tracing initiative, and the reason why some cities with international airports remain hotspots, an official of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme said: “Contact tracing is a very elaborate and rigorous process because even if one person is missed there may be grave consequences. That is why, even after so many days of stoppage of international commercial flights, we are still focussed on some of these cities. To give you an idea of the enormity of the exercise, for the two Agra residents who had travelled back with the first Delhi patient from Vienna, we had done contact tracing in 1,63,000 households, that’s how elaborate it is.”
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