India on Sunday reported 16,752 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,10,96,731, government data showed. The new cases were 1.60% higher than Saturday’s count of 16,488. The country’s toll rose to 1,57,051 after 113 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
The number of active cases stood at 1,64,511, while the number of recoveries reached 1,07,75,169. So far, more than 1.43 crore health and frontline workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The Union health ministry said that Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat accounted for 86.37% of the new cases. Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh’s coronavirus case count hit zero on Saturday as three patients recovered from the infection.
Cases continue to rise in Maharashtra
Maharashtra once gain logged the highest number of cases among all states with 8,623 infections, making it the fourth day in a row when the state witnessed over 8,000 cases. The capital Mumbai reported 987 new cases, while four people died due to the virus.
Meanwhile, authorities extended the lockdown in Amravati district for another week till March 8 on Saturday. Besides the lockdown, Anjangaon Surji village has been declared a containment zone. Restrictions have been imposed in multiple other districts like Yavatmal, Latur, Solapur, Pune, Aurangabad and Nashik.
The Mumbai Police on Saturday registered a case against three marriage halls for allowing more guests than the prescribed limit of 50 on the complaint of civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, according to PTI. Earlier during the day, the Centre had advised states and Union Territories reporting a spike in cases to enforce coronavirus safety protocols by dealing firmly with violations and ensure effective surveillance in case of potential super spreading events, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, the government said it has been holding discussions with states registering a sharp increase in coronavirus cases. On Saturday, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Saturday held a review meeting with the chief secretaries of Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana and Jammu & Kashmir to discuss the health crisis.
Gauba advised the states not lower their guard and squander the progress made in containing the coronavirus. “It was strongly underlined [at the meeting] that they need to follow effective surveillance strategies in respect of potential super spreading events,” the government said in its daily bulletin. “Need for effective testing, comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation of positive cases and quick quarantine of close contacts were also strongly emphasized.”
The government has also deputed high-level multi-disciplinary teams to Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir to assess the reasons behind the surge in infections and coordinate with the their respective health departments.
‘May have options to choose vaccines in weeks’
All India Institutes of Medical Sciences chief Dr Randeep Guleria on Saturday said that people may have a choice of three or four coronavirus vaccines in a few weeks, and pick which one to take in a few weeks, NDTV reported.
“In a few weeks from now, we may have three or four vaccines,” Guleria said, in an interview to NDTV. “You can’t have all of them available in one centre. One centre will be giving only one vaccine. But it is likely that in your area you may have more than one vaccine provided in different private hospitals and therefore it may indirectly give you some choice.”
On Friday, the government had said that those eligible for vaccination in the next phase can self-register themselves for the shots using the CoWIN or Aarogya Setu app. These apps will show the government and private hospitals serving as Covid Vaccination Centres with date and time of the available schedules.
However, a fake website emerged on Saturday, impersonating as the official CoWin website ahead of the second phase of vaccination, scheduled to commence from March 1. The Centre flagged the website through its fact-checker Twitter handle.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the country’s drug regulator approved emergency-use authorisation for a single-dose coronavirus vaccine developed by pharmaceuticals company Johnson & Johnson.