Two states – Maharashtra and Kerala – reported more than half of India’s total Covid-19 case count last week, the Union health ministry said on Friday.

“In the terms of contribution of cases recorded last week, 21% has come from Maharashtra and 32% reported from Kerala,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary at the Union health ministry, at a press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in India.

Agarwal said that at the beginning of last week, both states registered a high number of infections, which came down on July 6 but again climbed to the same level. On July 1, Maharashtra registered 9,771 cases, which fell to 6,740 on July 6 but again rose to 9,083 on Friday.

Similarly, on July 1, Kerala reported 13,658 infections, which dropped to 8,037 on July 6 but again climbed to 13,772 on Friday.

Source: Union health ministry briefing on Covid-19 situation

“Our efforts are to work with the states and control the spread of infection through intensive containment measures,” Agarwal added.

He also pointed out that 80% of the coronavirus infections were reported from 90 districts – 15 from Maharashtra, 14 from Kerala, 12 from Tamil Nadu and 10 each in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Agarwal said that as of Thursday, there were 66 districts where the case positivity rate was above 10%. This shows that the spread of infection is high in those areas. Ten such districts are in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan each, followed by Manipur with nine, Kerala eight, Meghalaya six, Assam and Sikkim four each, and three in Tripura.

He said that in the week ending May 4, there were 531 districts with more than 100 cases. The number of such districts came down to 262 in the week ending June 2. Last week, there were 86 districts, Agarwal said.

The joint secretary also said that the number of active cases has dropped considerably from 37,45,237 during the peak of the second wave on May 10 to 4,58,727 on July 9.

India registered 43,393 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday morning, taking the country’s tally since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 3,07,52,950. This is 5.4% lower than the daily infection count recorded on Thursday.

The country’s toll rose to 4,05,939 with 911 more deaths recorded in a span of 24 hours.


As citizens throng tourist spots, Centre warns against laxity

NITI Aayog member (Health) VK Paul warned citizens thronging tourism spots as state governments relaxed Covid norms.

“This is a serious cause of concern because of the visuals that are being witnessed – that crowds are mingling, social distancing is not being maintained, marks are not being worn,” Paul said. “This has been highlighted at the Cabinet meeting led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday.”

Paul urged citizens to follow Covid protocols and said that it was not yet time for such lax behaviour. “If we don’t take precautions, the virus will dominate us.” He added that the campaign against the coronavirus should continue and be boosted further.

The statement came as tourists have begun travelling to hill stations in huge numbers despite repeated warnings about the onset of the third wave of the pandemic.

Earlier on Friday, the district authorities in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun restricted the number of tourists in Mussoorie’s Kempty Falls to 50, a day after a video emerged of a crowd bathing at the popular spot without observing any Covid-19 protocols.

On Tuesday, the Centre had taken note of crowding at hill stations and warned that it will re-introduce Covid-19 curbs.