Govt Keeps Eye On Surges To Track Hotspots
Ahead of the end of the third phase of the lockdown, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is looking out for “surges” in Covid-19 cases to spot emerging hotspots, focussing on contact tracing and containment measures to stop them from turning into “red zones”.
Meanwhile, according to Health Ministry’s data, 3,967 more cases and 100 deaths were reported, taking the total count across the country to 81,970 (2,649 died, 27,920 recovered). This was till Thursday.
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By Friday evening, the number of confirmed cases in India had crossed that of China, which has just over 84,000 cases so far. With Maharashtra reporting 1,576 new cases on Friday, Tamil Nadu 385, and Gujarat 340, these three states alone were enough to take India past China’s case count, which has seen a very slow rise for over two months now. On the other hand, India, for the last few days, has been adding almost 4,000 cases every day.
“We are watching out for any abnormal behaviour in the growth trajectory. It could be a sudden spike that has not been seen in the last week or more. It could be an abnormal day-on-day growth rate. It could be a simple steep percentage rise, anything that stands out. We are focussing on containing upcoming clusters before they become full- fledged outbreaks,” said a source.
It was felt that looking at just doubling time or percentage growth can delay response time, especially in areas with low case load, sources said. “There were a few instances when we were tracking it, yet the outbreak quickly snowballed. That’s what we are looking to prevent,” said an official.
For instance, in Ganjam district of Odisha, there were just two cases on May 1. By May 14, the case load had risen to 264. It is one of the five districts that account for 80% of the cases in Odisha.
Dhalai, in Tripura, was a zero-case district till May 1, but had 152 cases by May 14, with cases at a BSF camp over the last week accounting for almost 10% of the state’s case load.
Of the 667 districts for which the district-wise data is available in state bulletins, 343 have reported 1-50 cases, adding up to a total of 5,127 cases (till May 14); 67 have reported 51-100 cases, with a total of 4,803 cases (till May 14).
Meanwhile, the Group of Ministers on Covid-19 held its 15th meeting under the chairmanship of Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
On Saturday, the Centre will hold a video conference with municipal commissioners of 30 cities which account for about 80% of the total cases in the country to discuss the way ahead for the next phase of the lockdown.