A health worker takes swab sample of a visitor at a mall in Mumbai on Tuesday. – PTI
Whole country is at risk
NEW DELHI, March 30 : The coronavirus situation is “turning from bad to worse” and is a huge cause of worry especially for some states, the Centre said on Tuesday while stressing that the whole country is at risk and nobody should be complacent.
It said eight of the top 10 COVID-19 high-burden districts of the country are from Maharashtra and that Delhi, taken as one district, is also on the list.
At a press conference, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the 10 districts with maximum active COVID-19 cases are Pune (59,475), Mumbai (46,248), Nagpur (45,322), Thane (35,264), Nashik (26,553), Aurangabad (21,282), Bengaluru Urban (16,259), Nanded (15,171), Delhi (8,032), Ahmednagar (7,952).
Though technically speaking, Delhi has many districts, but it has been taken as one district, he said.
NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said, “COVID-19 situation is turning from bad to worse. In last few weeks, especially in some states, it is a huge cause for worry. No state, no part of the country or district should be complacent.”
“We are facing an increasingly severe and intense situation, more so surely in some districts. But the whole country is potentially at risk and therefore all efforts to contain and save lives should be taken.
“Hospital and ICU preparations have to be readied. If the cases increase rapidly, the healthcare system would be overwhelmed”, Paul said.
All states and Union Territories are reporting a surge in cases and there is a need to significantly and exponentially increase the number of COVID-19 tests. The proportion of RT-PCR tests need to be increased too, Bhushan said.
“On Saturday, we held meeting with these states and also spoke to 47 districts. We requested them to increase the number of tests with a special focus on RT-PCR tests. Rapid antigen tests must be used for screening and in densely populated areas where cases are coming in clusters. The preferred test should be the RT-PCR ones,” he said.
On variants of the virus, the Health Secretary said 10 laboratories have done genome sequencing of 11064 samples since December of which the UK variant was detected in 807 samples, South African variant in 47 and Brazilian variant in one. – PTI