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Rate of doubling improves to 7.5 days, says Centre

Rate of doubling improves to 7.5 days, says Centre

New Delhi: The rate of doubling of COVID-19 cases in India has now improved to 7.5 days, the government said on Monday.

"India's COVID-19 doubling rate has improved to 7.5 days from 3.4 days before the lockdown," Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said at the daily briefing.

Eight states and a Union Territory — Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Bihar have shown a doubling rate in less than 20 days.

Interestingly, Odisha and Kerala have a doubling rate of more than 30 days.

With 1,540 new cases in the last 24 hours, India on Monday reported a total of 17,656 confirmed cases, which includes 2,842 recoveries and 559 deaths. With 540 new recoveries in a day out of the total cured patients, the country's recovery rate improved from 14.2 per cent to 16 per cent on Monday.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Health ministry, through an SoP, has asked all non-COVID-19 hospitals to immediately isolate COVID-19 positive cases to another room and if the health condition of the patients allows then transfer the patient to a COVID-19 dedicated hospital at the earliest.

"The states where the doubling rate is between 20 days to 30 days are Andaman and Nicobar (20.1 days), Haryana (21 days), Chandigarh (25.4 days), Assam (25.8 days), Uttarakhand (26.6 days) and Ladakh (26.6 days)," he said, adding that the states which have shown a doubling rate more than 30 days are Odisha (39.8 days) and Kerala (72.2 days).

Agarwal further added that three districts — Mahe (Puducherry), Kodagu (Karnataka) and Pauri Garhwal (Uttarakhand) have not reported any fresh cases during the last 28 days, while six new districts have had no cases in the past 14 days.

States and Union Territories (UTs) can take stricter action than what is mentioned in the guidelines issued by the Central government to enforce the nationwide lockdown but cannot dilute or weaken them, the Union Home ministry said on Monday.

Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Punya Salila Srivastava, said Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote fresh communication to the states as some of them were issuing certain guidelines that amounted to "diluting" the lockdown leading to "severe repercussions to health" of the citizens.

In another related development, excess rice in central godowns will be converted into ethanol to make hand sanitisers and will also be added to petrol to reduce emissions, the government said on Monday.

Quoting the National Policy on Biofuels, which allows the conversion of surplus foodgrains into ethanol, the government said the decision was taken at a meeting of NBCC (National Biofuel Coordination Committee) chaired by Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

"It was approved that the surplus rice available with Food Corporation of India may be converted to ethanol for utilisation in making alcohol-based hand-sanitisers and in blending for Ethanol Blended Petrol programme," a statement from the government read.

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