COVID-19 cases in India on Saturday saw the highest single-day spike for the second consecutive day with 6,654 new infections reported in a 24-hour span, taking the tally to over 1.25 lakh, while the death toll rose to 3,720 after 137 more fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry.
In a significant development, a high-level committee of experts was formed by the government to recommend reforms in India’s drug regulatory system so that approval processes can be fast-tracked.
A health ministry official said the aim of the panel is to identify and institutionalise these measures.
Meanwhile, 11 municipal areas in seven states and union territories that have accounted for 70 per cent of India’s coronavirus case load were asked by the government on Saturday to step up monitoring in old cities, urban slums and other high density pockets like camps and clusters for migrant workers for management of COVID-19 cases.
These 11 municipal areas are from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and account for 70 per cent of active case load, the Union health ministry said.
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan who held a high-level meeting through video conferencing with principal health secretaries and municipal commissioners along with other officials from the 11 municipal areas urged them to focus on prevention through active screening of high risk and vulnerable population along with effective and sturdy clinical management of the admitted cases to reduce fatality rate.
During the meeting, a presentation was made to highlight the trend in case trajectory with respect to total confirmed cases, case fatality rate, doubling time, tests per million and confirmation percentage, the ministry said.
“It was told that major challenge lies in those corporations having shorter doubling time, higher mortality rate and a higher confirmation rate than the national average,” the ministry said in its statement.
According to the ministry bulletin, the active cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rose to 69,597, while 51,783 people have recovered and a patient has migrated.
“Thus, around 41.39 percent patients have recovered so far,” a ministry official said.
The total of 1,25,101 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus pandemic includes foreigners.
Of the 137 deaths reported since Friday morning, 63 were in Maharashtra, 29 in Gujarat, 14 each from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, six from West Bengal, four from Tamil Nadu, two each from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, and one from Haryana.
Of the total toll of 3,720, Maharashtra tops the tally with 1,517 deaths, followed by Gujarat at 802, Madhya Pradesh at 272, West Bengal at 265 and Delhi at 208.
The number of deaths due to the contagion in Rajasthan is 153, while 152 people died in Uttar Pradesh, 98 in Tamil Nadu and 55 in Andhra Pradesh.
The COVID-19 death toll reached 45 in Telangana, 41 in Karnataka and 39 in Punjab. There are 20 fatalities in Jammu and Kashmir, 16 in Haryana and 11 in Bihar.
Seven people have succumbed to the disease in Odisha, and four each in Kerala and Assam so far.
Jharkhand, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh each have recorded three deaths each, while there is a fatality each in Meghalaya and Uttarakhand, the ministry said. More than 70 percent of the deaths are due to comorbidities, according to the ministry website.