Maharashtra witnessed further spike in Covid-19 tally as the state on Saturday recorded 6,281 fresh cases, prompting Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar to threaten a lockdown in financial capital and Karnataka making negative virus test mandatory for Maharashtra travellers.
In a statement, the Union Health Ministry said in the last seven days, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh recorded an "upsurge" in daily new cases. Chhattisgarh reported 259 daily new cases in the last 24 hours.
Kerala continues to report a high number of daily new cases and in the past week, Maharashtra has exhibited a spike in the number of daily new cases, accounting for the highest number of daily new cases in the country on Saturday, the ministry said in the statement. "In the last 24 hours, 6,112 daily new cases have been reported in the state," it said.
Similar to Maharashtra, the ministry said Punjab has also shown a sudden spike in the number of daily new cases reported in the last seven days with 383 fresh cases recorded in the last 24 hours. "Since February 13, Madhya Pradesh is also witnessing a rise in the number of daily new cases. In the last 24 hours, 297 daily new cases have been registered in the state," the ministry said.
The ministry stressed the importance of adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour for breaking the chain of transmission and containment of spread of the disease. Only two states, Maharashtra and Kerala, account for 75.87 per cent of total number of active COVID-19 cases, the ministry added.
The ministry said 18 states/UTs have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. These are Telangana, Haryana, J&K (UT), Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya, Ladakh (UT), Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu . The ministry said a total of 1,07,15,204 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered through 2,22,313 sessions, as per the provisional report till 8 am today.
These include 63,28,479 healthcare workers (first dose), 8,47,161 healthcare workers (second dose) and 35,39,564 frontline workers (first dose), the ministry said. The second dose of COVID-19 vaccination started on February 13 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the first dose. Vaccination of the frontline workers started on February 2.
The ministry said nine states have administered more than five lakh doses each. These are Uttar Pradesh (11,52,042), Maharashtra (8,60,386), Gujarat (8,56,657), Rajasthan (7,99,719), West Bengal (6,50,976), Karnataka (6,29,420), Madhya Pradesh (6,26,391), Bihar (5,50,433) and Odisha (5,01,713).
Karnataka Makes Negative RT-PCR Report Mandatory for People Coming from Maharashtra
The Karnataka government on Saturday mandated a negative RT-PCR certificate that is not older than 72 hours for those arriving in the state by flights, buses, trains and personal transport from Maharashtra, following the recent spike in COVID cases there. The report shall be verified at the time of boarding by airline staff, a circular issued by the Additional Chief Secretary Department of Health and Family Welfare Jawaid Akhtar said.
For those travelling by bus, tickets shall be issued on production of negative RT-PCR report or shall be checked by the bus conductor while boarding of those who have booked tickets online, etc. In trains, the TTEs shall check the report, it said, adding that a random check of the testing reports from the persons arriving at the tollgates /point of entry shall be made for those coming by personal transport.
"All those arriving from Maharashtra and checking into hotels, resorts, hostels, homestays, dormitories, etc.shall compulsorily produce a negative RT-PCR certificate that is not older than 72 hours," the circular said.
It said owners of these places should ensure that the occupants produce negative RT-PCR certificates. Listing the guidelines that needs to be followed, the circular said those who have arrived from Maharashtra in the past two weeks (colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, hostel, hotel, lodge etc.) in Karnataka shall compulsorily be subjected to RT-PCR test.
In a similar circular, Karnataka earlier this week had issued new guidelines mandating all those coming from Kerala to the state to carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours.
Covid-19 Test Mandatory for Incoming Travellers at Srinagar Airport
Strengthening the preventive measures against COVID-19 in the wake of the rising cases in some states of the country, authorities in Kashmir on Saturday ordered that inbound travellers will not be allowed to leave the airport here until their test report is received. The test reports will be issued on the spot before letting the travellers go, an official spokesman said.
In a meeting convened in Srinagar as part of the preventive plan, in-charge Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary issued directions for putting in place required measures to avert the spread of coronavirus in the Valley, the spokesman said. Choudhary directed for strengthening the preventive mechanism at the Srinagar airport, instructing the Srinagar and Budgam district administrations to set up additional coronavirus testing facilities to enable quick receipt of the test reports.
He instructed that no inbound traveller be allowed to leave the airport until their COVID-19 test report is received, the spokesman said. He said the instructions come in the wake of a recent trend within Kashmir which shows a greater number of infections in travellers compared to local cases of COVID-19 infections.
The spokesman said it has been decided that those travellers whose reports come positive would be isolated in order to prevent transmission and spread of the infection among the local population. Relevant protocol as given in the COVID-19 SOP manual will be followed in the case, he said.
The meeting was informed that those with 48-hour-old RT-PCR negative reports from their departing cities will not have to undergo testing at the Srinagar airport. Earlier, while speaking during the meeting, Director, Health Services Kashmir, Dr Samir Mattoo said the COVID-19 situation is under control.
The transmission rate is also quite low but stricter measures at the airport have to be taken to avert rise in infections, he said. It was informed that a rise in the positive cases as reported in some states outside J-K along with the recent trend of finding more infections in inbound travellers has necessitated taking these preventive measures as directed, the spokesman said.