The doubling time of coronavirus cases in India has improved to 17.4 days currently from 15.4 days a couple of weeks ago, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday, even as the country for the first time recorded over 10,000 new instances of the infection in a day.
At the time the lockdown was imposed on March 25, the doubling rate of COVID-19 cases was 3.4 days, it said.
Amid a spurt in cases, the cabinet secretary held a meeting chief secretaries, health and urban development secretaries of all states through a video link and they were asked to also pay special attention to the emerging epicentres of COVID-19 cases and undertake stringent containment measures to check the contagion, the ministry said.
"The doubling rate/time continues to improve and has increased from 3.4 days at the beginning of lockdown to 17.4 days currently," the ministry said.
During the meeting with the cabinet secretary, the states were advised to focus on containment, testing and tracing, upgrading health infrastructure, clinical management and community engagement for effective management of COVID-19.
Undertaking active house-to-house surveillance in containment zones was also stressed upon citing it was critical for early identification of cases. The states were requested to expedite upgradation of hospital infrastructure to manage COVID-19 cases as per projections while ensuring sufficient logistics, and trained human resources.
Timely referrals, based on symptoms and improving clinical practices with the help of Centres of Excellence in collaboration with AIIMS, Delhi, was also stressed at the meeting.
States were requested to undertake extensive community outreach to encourage social distancing and promotion of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in the community at all times, the health ministry said.
Apart from improvement in the doubling rate, it said the recovery rate of patients has also become better.
"Recovery rate of COVID positive cases continues to increase and is currently stands at 49.47 per cent," the ministry said.
A total of 1,47,194 people have recovered while 1,41,842 patients are under active medical supervision. In the 24 hour period till 8 am on Friday, a total of 6,166 patients have been cured of COVID-19, it said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has ramped up testing capacity for detecting the novel coronavirus and a total of 877 laboratories - 637 government and 240 private - are presently operational in the country.
According to the top health research body, 53,63,445 samples have been tested so far, with 1,50,305 of them in the last 24 hours as on Friday.
The number of COVID-19 cases as on Saturday morning is 3,04,019. Maharashtra has the highest cases in India with 1,01,141, followed by Tamil Nadu with 40,698 and Delhi with 34,687.
India has the fourth-highest number of coronavirus cases among 10 nations worst-hit by coronavirus, for which no vaccine has been developed yet. The death count rose to 8,498 with a record single-day spike of 396 fatalities.