India death toll nears 100-mark

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The number of COVID19 deaths inched towards 100 on Saturday along with a significant increase in the number of confirmed infections, 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.

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 data shared by Agarwal and other government officials in their daily press briefing 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.

Officials said about 75,000 tests have been conducted so far, with the number of daily tests doubling to more than 10,000 from about 5,000 a few days ago. While the number of government labs has increased to over 100, several private labs have also been roped in, Agarwal said.

Globally, more than 11 lakh people have tested positive so far since the outbreak of this deadly virus in December last, which has left nearly 60,000 dead. The US alone has seen over 2.7 lakh confirmed cases while it recorded nearly 1,500 deaths within 24 hours between Thursday and Friday. Italy has recorded the maximum deaths at nearly 15,000.

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 have died taking the nationwide toll to 68, Agarwal said.

However, according to a PTI tally of figures reported by states directly showed at least 94 deaths across the country while the number of confirmed cases of infection had crossed 3,250 as on Saturday late afternoon.

Of them more than 200 have been cured and discharged.