India records over 10,000 COVID-19 cases in single day, tally nears 3 lakh

For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, India recorded over 10,000 new cases and 396 fatalities in a single day, even as the Centre on Friday asked the states to pay special attention to the emerging epicentres of COVID-19 and undertake stringent containment measures to check the contagion.
As the cases tally increased to 2,97,535 with 10,956 new infections and the death toll rose to 8,498 in 24 hours till Friday 8 AM, the Union Health ministry stressed that the doubling time of coronavirus cases has improved to 17.4 days from 15.4 days a couple of weeks ago.
India on Thursday went past the United Kingdom to become the fourth worst-hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Worldometer and Johns Hopkins University data.
The number of active cases stands at 1,41,842, while 1,47,194 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, the health ministry said.
“Thus, around 49.47 per cent patients have recovered so far,” an official said.
The ministry said the doubling time of coronavirus cases in India has improved to 17.4 days currently from 15.4 days a couple of weeks ago.
At the time the lockdown was imposed on March 25, the doubling rate of COVID-19 cases was 3.4 days, it said.
Meanwhile, amid the spurt in cases, the cabinet secretary held a meeting with chief secretaries, health and urban development secretaries of all states through a video link and they were asked to pay special attention to the emerging epicentres of COVID-19 cases and undertake stringent containment measures to check the contagion.
During the meeting with the cabinet secretary, the states were advised to focus on containment, testing and tracing, upgrading health infrastructure, clinical management and community engagement for effective management of COVID-19.
Undertaking active house-to-house surveillance in containment zones was also stressed upon citing it was critical for early identification of cases.
The states were requested to expedite upgradation of hospital infrastructure to manage COVID-19 cases as per projections while ensuring sufficient logistics, and trained human resources.
Timely referrals, based on symptoms and improving clinical practices with the help of Centres of Excellence in collaboration with AIIMS, Delhi, was also stressed at the meeting.
States were requested to undertake extensive community outreach to encourage social distancing and promotion of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in the community at all times, the health ministry said.
The health ministry also issued guidelines on “COVID appropriate behaviour” to be followed at restaurants, hotels, religious places, shopping malls and offices in a pictorial format as the country opened up its economy amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
On June 4, the ministry had issued the standard operating procedures for operation of public and semi-public environments but now they have been repackaged in a colourful pictorial format to sensitize people in a better way.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has also ramped up testing capacity for detecting the novel coronavirus and a total of 877 laboratories — 637 government and 240 private — are presently operational in the country.
According to the apex health research body, 53,63,445 samples have been tested so far, with 1,50,305 of them in the last 24 hours.
The government is also mulling to include sudden loss of taste and smell as a criteria for COVID-19 testing, sources said as India witnessed a surge in coronavirus instances with total caseload racing towards the three lakh mark.
The issue was discussed in a meeting of the National Task Force on COVID-19 held last Sunday, but no consensus on the matter has been reached yet.
Of the 396 new deaths reported till Friday morning, 152 were in Maharashtra, 101 in Delhi, 38 in Gujarat, 24 in Uttar Pradesh, 23 in Tamil Nadu, 12 in Haryana, 10 in West Bengal, nine in Telangana, six in Rajasthan, four each in Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, three each in Bihar and Karnataka, two each in Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Puducherry and one in Jammu and Kashmir.