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Early trend of decline in fresh COVID-19 cases, says health ministry

After two months, the recoveries in a single day from Covid outnumbered the daily new cases with more than 356,082 recoveries on Tuesday against 329,942 new infections, the health ministry said.

Covid-19 cases are showing an increasing trend in 16 states in the country while another 18 have been showing early signs of decline or plateauing in the past two weeks, the ministry said during the press briefing on Covid situation in India.

Between April 27 and May 11, the number of daily new Covid cases has nearly doubled in states such as Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, J&K, and Goa.

Southern states, including Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, have been on a constant incline for over two weeks along with West Bengal, Odisha, and Punjab.

However, there is a decline in cases in states such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana, and Gujarat. In UP’s Lucknow, Kanpur, and Varanasi, cases are down by almost half in the last two weeks, according to the health ministry data.

A declining trend is also noticeable in Pune, Nagpur, Nasik, and Palghar in Maharashtra. Southern districts, including Ernakulam and Mallapuram, in Kerala, Kolkata in West Bengal, Bengaluru Urban and Mysuru in Karnataka are of concern with cases seeing a sharp rise.

There are 533 districts in the country with a positivity rate of more than 10 per cent and maximum of these are in Madhya Pradesh, UP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar. Positivity is over 15 per cent in 26 states, with Goa reporting the highest test positivity rate in the country of over 49 per cent followed by Puducherry at 43 per cent. Only four states have less than 5 per cent positivity. National positivity rate is 21 per cent.

The health ministry had recently revised its testing guidelines to rationalise the use of RT-PCR tests, demand for which have outpaced supply. The steps included greater use of rapid antigen tests, no testing for recovered individuals or asymptomatic people who are travelling.

The comparison of the first and second wave data has shown that there was not much age difference in the patients getting infected and those above 40 were more vulnerable, ICMR has said. The mortality rate for hospitalised patients has also been in the range of 9.6 to 9.7 per cent in both waves. “Younger people are getting more involved because they have suddenly gone out. Variants are also prevalent which may be affecting the younger people as well,” said Balram Bhargava, director general, Indian council of medical research.

Ramping up O2 supply
There has been a sevenfold increase in the supply of liquid medical oxygen in the country from 1,320 mt in March to 8,943 mt on May 9, the ministry of home affairs has said.

The number of cryogenic tanks storing oxygen at hospitals increased to 900 in May from 600 a year ago and almost a threefold increase in the number of oxygen cylinders in the same period, according to the MHA data.

Jumbo Hospitals with a capacity of around 12,400 beds is also being set up with gaseous oxygen from refineries and power and steel plants. Business Standard