Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday expressed concern over the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in eight states and Union Territories, and said the pace of surge is worrisome.
As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, these states/UT are depicting a high growth rate in the number of daily cases, higher mortality, very high and growing positivity rate.
"The growing cases in Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Uttarakhand is a matter of concern. Cases are increasing again in Punjab and other variants are being found apart from the UK variant. In Haryana and Bihar, the rate of Covid positive has increased. Cases are increasing very rapidly in Jammu and Kashmir and different variants are being found there. However, the situation in Telangana is getting a little better," the Minister said while interacting with State Health Ministers and Principal Secretaries/ Additional Chief Secretaries of 8 states/UT including--Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Telangana.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said that there has been a very rapid increase in the number of cases across the country, which has increased the pressure on health services in the last few weeks.
"But, despite the pressure, everyone has patiently tried to intensify the fight against COVID-91. A total of 3,48,412 COVID-19 cases were reported in the country in the last 24 hours. But, it is a matter of satisfaction for us that 3,55,338 people have been cured. We have to keep this pace constantly so that gradually the number of active cases is reduced," he said.
Underscoring the critical importance of vaccination drive, the minister observed, "Vaccination is our biggest weapon in the fight against COVID19".
He added that India is the fastest country globally to reach the landmark of 17 cr doses in 114 days. He thanked all the states and UTs for their contribution in achieving this feat. He also pointed out that of this, while 13.66 crore people have been administered the first dose, the second dose has been administered to only 3.86 crore people.
"Hence it is very important that we first focus more on second dose vaccinations. States should not lose sight of those who are to get the second dose of the COVID vaccine. 70 per cent at a minimum ought to be allocated to meet the requirement of the second dose, while 30 per cent ought to be reserved for the first dose," Dr Harsh Vardhan said and urged states to ensure that the healthcare workers and frontline workers are fully vaccinated, as they form the vulnerable categories.
With 4,205 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, India reported another grim record of the highest single-day death count in one day, as per data from the union health ministry. The last record was reported on May 7, with 4,187 deaths.
A total of 3,48,421 new COVID-19 cases and 3,55,338 discharges were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the country's total positive cases so far to 2,33,40,938.
This includes 1,93,82,642 discharges and 2,54,197 deaths. There are currently 37,04,099 active cases in the country.