The Centre on Sunday announced the formation of public health teams to identify the gaps in 20 districts of the country that have registered the maximum coronavirus cases, PTI reported. The teams will be deployed in the areas as India inches closer to a total of 43,000 coronavirus infections.

These districts include Mumbai, Pune and Thane in Maharashtra; Ahmedabad, Surat, and Vadodara in Gujarat; Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh; Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan; Agra and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh; Kolkata in West Bengal; Chennai in Tamil Nadu; Hyderabad in Telangana; Kolkata in West Bengal; Kurnool, Guntur, and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh and South East and Central Delhi.

The teams, comprising experts from the National Centre for Disease Control, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, and the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health among others, will submit reports to the state health authorities with recommendations and their observations.

“A decision has been taken in the Ministry of Health to deploy public health teams to assist health departments in managing Covid-19 outbreaks in selected districts,” an official told the news agency.

The regional directors under the health ministry in these nine states and one Union Territory will coordinate the deployment of the teams with the state health authorities.

Meanwhile, nine out of 20 districts, where most infections have been reported, are “short on the required infrastructure” to tackle the outbreak, The New Indian Express reported. In a meeting, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan told state chief secretaries that eight of these districts have doubling rates that are faster than 10 days and seven districts have case fatality rate more than the national average of 3.2%.

India has recorded 42,533 cases and 1,373 people have died due to the coronavirus, according to the latest figures from the health ministry. All the metro cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai have been categorised as red zones.

In Maharashtra, the state with the highest number of coronavirus cases, the tally has touched 12,974, including 548 deaths. This was followed by Gujarat with 5,428 cases. Delhi also saw the sharpest jump in new infections as 427 people tested positive on Sunday. The coronavirus count in the national Capital has risen to 4,549.

These new figures came as India began the third phase of a nationwide lockdown on Monday with fewer restrictions on activities.

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