Though 18 states have not reported any deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours and the national positivity rate has shown a steady decrease in the last 13 days, there is a spot of concern: five states have reported an upsurge in regular cases, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
With the infectious Covid-19 variants found in South Africa and Brazil, the increase in the number of cases in Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh comes from the context of five individuals who have recently returned to India.
In the midst of the surge, on Saturday, neighbouring Karnataka issued an order making it compulsory for individuals arriving from Maharashtra to have a negative RT-PCR report: “that is not older than 72 hours” prior to arrival in the state. Karnataka’s Health Department released a similar order earlier this week for those coming from Kerala.
In five of its districts, Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal, Buldana and Washim, with a “partial lockdown” in two of them, Maharashtra has reimposed strict restrictions. The Maharashtra government said that the E484K mutation found in the rapidly spreading South African, UK and Brazilian variants was identified in one sample in Amaravati.
A similar upsurge has been reported in four other states
Although the 4,505 cases registered by Kerala on Saturday are a drop from the numbers a week ago (5,471 on February 14), the high numbers of the state are a cause for concern, sources said.
Punjab reported 260 new cases on February 14, and on Saturday it reported 383 new cases. On Saturday, Madhya Pradesh, which registered 194 new cases on February 14th, had 297 cases. Chhattisgarh’s cases went up from 229 to 259 over the same period.
Data from the ministry shows that five states account for 78.22 per cent of new deaths: on Saturday, Maharashtra saw 44 fatalities, Kerala 15, Punjab 8, Tamil Nadu 7 and Karnataka 5.
Kerala (60,087), Maharashtra (45,957), Karnataka (5,901), Tamil Nadu (4,147) and West Bengal are the top five states in terms of the number of active events (3,625).
Dr V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, said on Tuesday that the advent of the two variants was a matter of concern in the country.
“This virus has not vanished. Our population is still affected by it and will increase the number of cases. This is a problem… In our country, we already have a UK version. Hopefully, these variants in the country would not cause a disastrous situation. “But it just shows that the vigil must continue to contain these diseases,” Paul said.