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Active cases breach 11-L mark for 1st time

‘Tika utsav’ beginning of another major war on Covid-19: PM Modi

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Active Covid-19 cases in India breached the 11 lakh-mark for the first time after a record high of 1.52 lakh new infections while a massive vaccination push, dubbed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the beginning of another major war against coronavirus, was launched on Sunday in a bid to curb the surge.

Until now, the active caseload was at its lowest at 1,35,926 on February 12 this year and at its highest at 10,17,754 on September 18, 2020.

Amidst an unprecedented burden on health infrastructure in 15 states and Delhi, which are witnessing an upward trajectory, authorities have started reserving more Covid hospitals and taking steps to address any shortage of medical supplies, besides enhancing curbs on the movement of people. India’s tally of Covid- 19 cases climbed to 1,33,58,805, and the death toll increased to 1,69,275 with 839 daily new fatalities, the highest since October 18, 2020, the data updated by the Union health ministry on Sunday morning showed.

While the cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 10 crore after 85 days, the ‘Tika Utsav’ or special ‘vaccination festival’ was started on Sunday, which will continue till April 14. “Anyone eligible for the vaccine should get the jab, and for this the society and administration have to make full efforts,” Prime Minister Modi said pitching for “zero vaccine waste” and urging the people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.

“This festival is, in a way, the beginning of another major war against corona. We have to lay special emphasis on personal hygiene as well as social hygiene,” he said.

Five states ~ Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala ~ cumulatively account for 70.82 per cent of India’s active Covid-19 cases, while Maharashtra alone accounts for 48.57 percent, the Union Health Ministry said.

Besides these states, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are displaying an upward graph in daily new cases. Most of these states have reimposed restrictions, including the closure of schools, night curfew, weekend and local shutdowns, while ruling out a total lockdown, but as the latest wave of patients continues to flood hospitals, there are some signs of a rethink.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal have said that a lockdown will be the only option if the infections don’t abate and the health system shows signs of collapsing.

Speaking at an all-party meeting held virtually to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the state on Saturday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had indicated the imposition of a strict lockdown in the state given the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. “The number of patients is increasing so fast that if we do not decide on a lockdown today, a lockdown-like situation will automatically arise tomorrow,” he said.

The state has already announced a slew of curbs, including night curfew.

The Uttar Pradesh government, meanwhile, announced night curfew in districts reporting over 100 daily cases or 500 active cases and extended closure of all schools till April 30.

~With inputs from PTI~