This Article is From Oct 17, 2020

Centre Rushes High-Level Teams To 5 States Over Surge In Daily Covid Cases

The sharp surge in daily COVID-19 cases of Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal has made the central government rush high-level teams of experts to control the coronavirus pandemic there.

Ahead of Durga Puja, West Bengal has been recording over 3,000 new Covid cases a day. (Representational)

New Delhi:

The sharp surge in daily COVID-19 cases of Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal has worried the central government, which has rushed high-level teams of experts to help control the pandemic there.

Other than country's third worst-hit state of Karnataka, none of these states have a significant share in the country's overall coronavirus cases. However, there has been a sharp rise in the new Covid infections reported, rising positivity rate and low testing - barring Karnataka and Kerala.

The situation is especially worrying in West Bengal ahead of Durga Puja. The state has been recording more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases every day - its highest yet - for the last 5 days.

Kerala, too, has been reporting between 6,000-10,000 cases a day over the past month.

In an effort to help these states in "strengthening containment, surveillance, testing, infection prevention and control measures, and efficient clinical management of the positive cases", the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has sent expert teams, including a joint secretary-level nodal officer, public health experts and clinician.

"The Central teams shall also guide in effectively managing the challenges related to timely diagnosis and follow up," a statement from the Health Ministry said.

The numbers shared by the central government indicate the Covid threat local populations could be under ahead of the winter months when cases are expected to rise, besides increase in other seasonal respiratory diseases.

According to government data, the percentage of active cases, or those receiving treatment for coronavirus, against the state tally was highest for Karnataka at 14.1 per cent, followed by Kerala (11.8 per cent). This figure is higher than the national average of 10.6 per cent active cases.

Though West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have lower active case percentage, they have been recording the sharpest percentage rise in daily cases for about a month.

Data shows these states have a satisfactory recovery rate, but a high positivity rate - the proportion of people testing positive to those tested - indicates spread of COVID-19.

Kerala has a positivity rate of 16.6 per cent against 53,518 tests per million, Karnataka's is 11.5 per cent for almost 1 lakh samples tested and Chhattisgarh has 10.4 per cent positivity for almost 50,000 testes per million. Though West Bengal and Rajasthan have lower positivity rates, they are also conducting fewer Covid tests.

India's average positivity rate stands at about 6 per cent against 9.4 per cent a month ago.

The development comes as India's overall active cases dropped to under 8 lakh for the first time after 6 weeks on the back of robust recovery rate, early detection with high testing, and other containment strategies.

India now has 74.3 lakh cases with 1.1 lakh deaths - the lowest per million Covid deaths in the world, government data shows.