Record 600-plus cases in 24 hrs; death toll 96

NEW DELHI: The number of COVID-19 deaths inched towards 100 on Saturday and the count of confirmed infections rose by a new single-day record of over 600, but the government assured there was no need to panic as the rate of spread was less than in many other countries and just “one place” accounted for 30 per cent of detected cases.
The Health Ministry said the testing capacity has been ramped up significantly to over 10,000 tests per day to detect the deadly coronavirus infection, as it emphasised on continuous compliance to lockdown and social distancing measures, along with personal and environmental hygiene, to win this “daily battle”.
Officials said at least 1,023 confirmed cases of infection have been found to be linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in the national capital last month, but massive efforts by various authorities have led to nearly 22,000 people linked to the religious grouping and their primary contacts getting quarantined. Overall, tens of thousands are quarantined but their overall number could not be ascertained.
The Tablighi-linked infections, found across 17 states, including Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, showed that almost 30 per cent of them are from “one particular place where we could not sort of understand it and manage it”, Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said.
The government has also drawn out a containment plan to contain the outbreak within defined geographic areas as clusters posing high risk of further spread have emerged in several states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Telangana as also in Delhi and Ladakh.
According to the Ministry, 211 districts are now reporting COVID-19 cases, posing a high risk of further spread of the deadly virus unless it is contained. The data shared by Agarwal and other government officials in their daily press briefing on Saturday afternoon showed that an average of one in 25 people tested for the infection have found to be a positive case, while the mortality rate among those testing positive appeared even less at one in 30.
Agarwal said a total of 2,902 COVID-19 cases have been reported so far in India, with an increase of 601 in last 24 hours — the highest for such a period — with at least 58 of them in critical condition in Kerala, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. In the same time span, 12 more died taking the nationwide toll to 68, Agarwal said. Later, the Ministry’s evening update put the total number of those having tested positive so far at 3,072 nationwide with 75 deaths. However, a PTI tally of figures reported by states directly showed at least 96 deaths across the country while the number of confirmed cases of infection had reached 3,473 as on Saturday late evening. Of them more than 275 have been cured and discharged. There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the aggregate of numbers announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states. (PTI)

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