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India records lowest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases in six months; Dry run of vaccination exercise begins today

India records lowest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases in six months; Dry run of vaccination exercise begins today
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New Delhi: India registered the lowest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases in nearly six months at 18,732, while it is set to hold a two-day dry run from Monday in four states for its proposed ambitious vaccination drive likely to be kicked off in January.

The states put into place additional measures including testing of people arriving from abroad in the wake of a new strain of the virus detected in the UK.

The COVID-19 active caseload in the country also dipped to 2.78 lakh on Sunday, the lowest after 170 days, the Union Health Ministry said.

However, the pandemic continued to take a toll on activities as it forced the postponement of the winter session of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, which was scheduled to begin on December 28, after protem speaker disclosed that 61 employees and officials of the Assembly secretariat and five MLAs have tested coronavirus positive.

To assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for the COVID-19 vaccination drive, a dry run has been planned by the Centre on December 28 and 29 in four states Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The exercise will include necessary data entry in Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoring of vaccine delivery, testing receipt and allocation, deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries, the Union Health Ministry had said.

As part of the strategy that has been put in place to detect and contain the mutant variant detected in the UK, five percent of the positive cases of COVID-19 from all states and UTs will be tested for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), the Union Health Ministry had said on Saturday after a meeting of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 on the issue.

Further, more than 50 samples of UK returnees are currently under sequencing at the designated laboratories.

In Maharashtra, the Mumbai civic body issued revised guidelines to ensure the compulsory quarantine for 14 days for all passengers arriving from the UK, Europe, and the Middle East.

As per the amended Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), travellers will be kept under institutional quarantine after arrival and-PCR test will be conducted on the seventh day from the arrival at the respective hotels, institutional facilities at their own coast.

"If the report of the test is found negative, the passenger would be discharged from the institutional quarantine after seven days with the advice of seven days mandatory home quarantine. A total of 14 days quarantine is to be ensured," the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said in a release.

As per the guidelines, home quarantine stamp will be put and undertaking will be taken from the travellers that they will abide to be in home quarantine.

If the test result is found positive, passenger will be shifted to designated COVID-19 hospitals.

All passengers who had arrived from the UK between December 21 and 23 have been tested at the airports and only after the-PCR test result are available, the negative passengers were permitted to exit the airports.

All positively tested passengers were put under institutional isolation and their samples sent for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)

All passengers who had arrived from the UK between 25th November and 20th December 2020 were being tracked by the IDSP State Surveillance Units (SSUs) and District Surveillance Units (DSUs)

Samples of all positive cases are being sent for WGS and enhanced contact tracing of these positive cases is being undertaken and these contacts are also put under facility quarantine, the ministry had said.

In a statement, the union ministry said on Sunday the country has reported a trend of sustained decrease in the number of active cases.

"India's present active caseload consists of just 2.74 percent of India's total positive cases," it said.

The total recovered cases stand at 97,61,538. The gap between recovered and active cases, that is steadily increasing, is nearing 95 lakh and presently stands at 94,82,848, the ministry said.

"The difference in the new recoveries outnumbering new cases has also improved the recovery rate to 95.82 percent.

The ministry said the daily new caseload dropped below 19,000 after six months. A total of 18,732 were added to the national tally in the last 24 hours.

The new added cases were 18,653 on July 1. The ministry said 76.52 percent of the new cases are concentrated in 10 states and UTs.

"Kerala reported the highest daily new cases at 3,527. It is followed by Maharashtra with 2,854 new cases," it said.

India's COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 1,01,87,850 on Sunday.

According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 16,81,02,657 samples have been tested up to December 26 with 9,43,368 samples being tested on Saturday.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11 and crossed 80 lakh on October 29 and 90 lakh on November 20.

The 279 new fatalities include 60 from Maharashtra, 23 from Delhi, 33 from West Bengal, 21 from Kerala, 14 from Uttar Pradesh, 13 from Uttarakhand and 12 each from Punjab and Chattisgarh.

A total of 1,47,622 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 49189 from Maharashtra followed by 12051 from Karnataka, 12059 from Tamil Nadu, 10437 from Delhi, 9569 from West Bengal, 8293 from Uttar Pradesh, 7092 from Andhra Pradesh, 5281 from Punjab and 4275 from Gujarat.

The health ministry stressed that more than 70 percent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.


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