India's Coronavirus Tally Touches 2.28 Lakh, Death Toll Crosses 6,500; 10-fold Surge Since May 1 Seen in Some States
A man speaks on the phone at New Delhi Railway Station. (Reuters)
The nationwide count of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 2.28 lakh on Friday and the death toll crossed 6,500, while the number of states with four-digit or bigger tallies has doubled since May 1 when migrant movements began in special trains from big urban clusters to their villages. Some of these states have seen their tallies rising more than 10-fold.
This was followed by special international flights, beginning May 7, to bring back Indians stranded abroad and expatriates from different countries, which have also been attributed by some states for their rising tallies.
Domestic flights also resumed in a phased manner on May 18, the day which also marked the start of the fourth phase of the lockdown with significant relaxations after almost two months of a near-complete shutdown of various economic activities. A phased unlocking exercise is now in its first week.
The total number of confirmed cases across the country stood at nearly 35,000 on the morning of May 1 and the death toll was less than 1,150, showed the 8 am update of the Union Health Ministry on that day.
In its latest update on Friday morning, the ministry said the number of confirmed cases has risen to 2,26,770 and the death toll has grown to 6,348 now -- marking nearly six-fold jump in the case count and an over five-fold surge in the number of fatalities since May 1.
A PTI tally of figures announced by different states and union territories, as of 9.15 PM, showed the number of confirmed cases having risen further to 2,28,038 and the death toll to 6,557. This marked a record increase of more than 10,600 cases in the last 24 hours and a spike of 334 fatalities.
The count of recoveries has also risen to over 1.12 lakh, still leaving close to 1.10 lakh active cases across the country. The cases have been rising sharply, by 8,000 or more, for several days now.
The tally showed that at least 19 states now have their tallies of confirmed cases in four or more digits, as against just nine on May 1. Also, three states now have five-digit tallies, as against only Maharashtra in that category on May 1.
While Delhi and Gujarat already have their tallies running into five digits, at least three other states (Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh) have total confirmed cases of more than 9,000.
The states and union territories with four-digit or bigger tallies now include Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Besides, Jharkhand and Chhattishgarh have over 800 cases each.
The states that had four-digit or bigger tallies on May 1 itself included Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
In this period, Maharashtra's tally has actually grown from about 11,000 to more than 80,000, while that of Delhi has also risen manifold from about 3,700 to more than 26,000 and Gujarat from about 4,700 to over 19,000.
Among the newer states to see a big surge, Odisha's tally has risen from less than 150 to over 2,600, Bihar has risen from 466 to nearly 4,600, Haryana has grown from 357 to nearly 3,600 and West Bengal has seen its numbers rise from 744 to more than 7,300.
Maharashtra tops the charts in terms of total confirmed cases, active cases, recoveries and deaths. Delhi is at the second place in terms of active cases, though it is third after Tamil Nadu in terms of total cases. Gujarat is ranked second for fatalities, followed by Delhi at the third place.
In terms of recoveries, Maharashtra is followed by Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan.
The central and state governments are currently in the process of formulating guidelines for further unlocking from various restrictions that are still in place since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown first came into effect.
The Union Health Ministry said the aim of its standard operating procedures (SOPs) for religious places, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and offices is to instil appropriate behaviour among people to contain COVID-19 transmission chain while allowing resumption of social and economic activities.
Accelerating efforts to restart long-stalled business activities to contain the economic cost of the pandemic, the Health Ministry on Thursday had released SOPs for reopening offices, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and religious places. Some of them have already re-opened in parts of the country and a few others are scheduled to re-start in the next phase of unlocking from next Monday.
Among other states, Uttar Pradesh recorded its biggest single-day jump of 496 COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking its tally to 9,733, while 12 more people succumbed to the disease to take the death toll to 257. Its neighbouring hill state Uttarakhand recorded 46 new cases to take its tally to 1,199.
Maharashtra reported 2,436 new cases, taking its tally to 80,229, while its death toll rose to 2,849 after 139 more people succumbed to the virus infection.
In Gujarat, 510 more people tested positive and 35 died, taking its tally of confirmed cases to 19,199 and the death toll to 1,190.
A record increase was recorded by West Bengal too where 427 new cases took the tally to 7,303.
Karnataka also registered its highest single-day spike of more than 500 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections in the state to 4,835.
Tamil Nadu recorded 1,438 new cases and 12 deaths on Friday, taking its case count to 28,694 and fatalities to 232.
Kerala recorded its first ever three-digit surge for a single day with its tally rising by 111 to reach 1,699. Nearly 1.77 lakh people are under observation in the state.
(With inputs from PTI)