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India logs 1,247 fresh cases; insurance scheme extended

India logs 1,247 fresh cases; insurance scheme extended
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New Delhi: With 1,247 Coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 4,30,45,527, while the active cases increased to 11,860, according to the Union Health ministry data updated on Tuesday.

The death toll climbed to 5,21,966 with one fresh fatality being reported from Uttar Pradesh, the data updated at 8 am stated.

The active cases comprise 0.03 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate remained at 98.76 per cent, the ministry said.

An increase of 318 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded as 0.31 per cent and the weekly positivity rate as 0.34 per cent, according to the ministry.

Delhi has recorded a nearly 26 per cent jump in fresh Covid cases in the last 24 hours, while the positivity rate has been reported at 4.42 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department on Tuesday.

No death has been reported in the city due to the virus in this time period, it said. The department said that 632 fresh Covid cases have been reported and the positivity rate is 4.42 per cent. The city had on Monday recorded 501 cases and zero death while the positivity rate stood at 7.72 per cent.

With an increase in cases being reported in a few states, the Union Health ministry on Tuesday directed three states and the Union Territory of Delhi — to enforce the adherence to Covid-19 behaviour with particular emphasis on wearing masks in crowded areas.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday raised a red flag to three states — Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Mizoram — and the Union Territory of Delhi, which are a reporting increase in positivity rate — directing them to maintain a strict watch and take pre-emptive action in any areas of concern to control any emerging spread of infection.

Though Covid cases are rising in Delhi and its satellite towns, the focus should be on hospital admissions that have remained the same or changed just marginally, say several scientists, underscoring that the uptick is not an indication of a fourth wave in the country at this point.The removal of Covid restrictions, including schools reopening for offline classes, increased socialising and economic activity may be driving the spike in the national Capital and its surrounding areas, and some other pockets, they said.

It has been more than two weeks since all COVID-19 restrictions have been removed. It is a holiday period and people are meeting and intermingling. This is also reflected in social mobility and economic activity, which are higher than pre-pandemic periods, physician-epidemiologist Chandrakant Lahariya said while also advising caution and stressing on continued surveillance.

"Merely counting cases has no meaning... though cases are rising in Delhi, hospital admission remains unchanged or marginally changed," he said.

Given the epidemiological and scientific evidence, the current rise in cases in Delhi is not the start of the fourth wave. "SARS CoV-2 is going to stay with us for a long time and therefore, there is not going to be any period when the new cases would be zero, Lahariya said.

Meanwhile, the insurance scheme for healthcare workers engaged in Covid-related duties has been extended further for a period of 180 days from Tuesday, and 1,905 claims have been settled under it so far, the government said on Tuesday.

The Union Health ministry said it has been decided to extend the policy to provide a safety net to dependents of health workers who are deputed to take care of Covid patients.

Since the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) insurance scheme for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 on March 30, 2020, 1,905 claims of health workers who died while being deployed on pandemic related duties have been settled, the ministry said.

The PMGKP was launched to provide comprehensive personal accident cover of Rs 50 lakh to 22.12 lakh healthcare providers, including community health workers and private health workers who may have been in direct contact and care of Covid patients and may be at a risk of being impacted by it.

On account of the unprecedented situation, private hospital staff, retired, volunteers, local urban bodies, contract, daily wage, ad-hoc, outsourced staff requisitioned by states, central hospitals, autonomous hospitals of central, states, UTs, AIIMS and Institute of National Importance (INI)/hospitals of Central Ministries specifically drafted for care of Covid patients are also covered under the PMGKP.

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