NEW DELHI: There may be some community spread of Covid-19 in hotspots and these areas need to be monitored closely to prevent community transmission of the virus, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Monday, even as fresh coronavirus cases in the country registered a slight dip and fell below 500 for the first time in the past five days.
As Dr Guleria’s remarks triggered a fresh debate over the stage of Covid-19 transmission in the country, the health ministry concurred with the doctor’s statement. “What the AIIMS director has said is not in variance with what we have been explaining,” health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said.
Agarwal said the government was following the strategy of cluster containment strategy when a limited number of cases were being reported from a particular area. This action was being intensified when a larger number of cases came to light.
“If we go by the wordings (of AIIMS Director), he said localised community transmission, which implies larger number of cases are being found in a particular area – something we have been stating too,” the official said.
He added that the government’s efforts are aimed to ensure the country does not enter stage 3 of transmission, when it becomes difficult to identify the source of infection.
As per latest data from the states, the number of coronavirus cases recorded so far was 4,757, with 479 fresh infections on Monday. There were 16 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, with Maharashtra accounting for seven, taking the total death toll from the virus to 132.
The health ministry has confirmed 4,281 cases and 111 deaths. It reported nearly 700 new cases on Monday, a bulk of which have earlier been by TOI through confirmed reports from states.
Maharashtra remains the worst affected state with 868 confirmed cases and 45 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu (621 cases and 6 deaths) and Delhi (525 cases and 7 deaths). Maharashtra also recorded the highest number of 120 fresh coronavirus positive cases, with Mumbai’s tally alone crossing 500 to end the day at 526. Of the seven deaths, four were from Mumbai and one each from Vasai-Virar, Kalyan and Thane. These included the death of a 30-year-old pregnant woman from Nalasopara (East), the first case of a pregnant woman becoming a victim of coronavirus. She was also the youngest in the state to succumb.
In Delhi, several hotspots for Covid-19 have sprung up recently. Most prominent of them is the Nizamuddin cluster which accounts for 329 out of 525 Covid-19 cases in the state. East Delhi has at least two other hot spots – Dilshad Garden, where a 38-year-old woman spread Covid-19 to more than a dozen persons and a cancer hospital in the same area where two doctors and 16 nurses have been found positive for the disease.
The health ministry said the in-charge of all districts across states have been explained about Covid-19 focussed crisis management plan.
With 41 new Covid-19 cases — 21 in Bhopal, 16 in Indore, and one each in Vidisha, Betul, Khargone – Madhya Pradesh recorded its highest ever single-day tally on Monday, taking its count to 256. Bhopal recorded its first death on Monday, taking the state toll to 17. Two IAS officers and several health officials spearheading the battle against the virus in Madhya Pradesh have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in quarantine. In Gujarat, 146 Covid-19 and 12 deaths have been confirmed till date.
Meanwhile, Kerala, which till a few days ago seemed to be competing with Maharashtra for the “worst-hit state” tag, continued to report marked improvement with just 13 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Monday that the state could see 100-110 more Covid-19 cases in the next few days, even as 30 new positive were reported.
Two Covid-19 suspects with co-morbidities died in Andhra Pradesh taking the death toll in the state to three. Officials said one of the two people, who died due to Covid-19, is a 64-year-old man. He was a close contact of a Mecca returnee. The other mortality case was of a 55-year-old man. Uttarakhand on Monday reported five new Covid-19-positive cases taking the state’s tally to 31.
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