The Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare on Saturday said that there has been a sharp growth in the number of deaths. New cases of coronavirus are also growing at 1.3 times higher than June 2020, it said. In a meeting of health ministers from 11 states and union territories chaired by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, the minister said, "India is currently reporting the sharpest growth rate of 7.6 per cent in new COVID cases, which is 1.3 times higher than case growth rate of 5.5 per cent reported in June 2020. This is leading to an alarming rise in the daily number of active cases, which currently stand at 16,79,000. There is also a sharp growth of 10.2 per cent in the number of deaths."
He alerted that the gap between new cases and recoveries is widening at a fast pace. All the 11 states and UTs have crossed their highest reported daily case threshold in districts such as Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Thane, Lucknow, Raipur, Ahmedabad and Aurangabad.
The minister shed some light on a few silver linings too. He said that India had 1 lab at the beginning of the pandemic which has increased to 2,463 labs with a daily testing capacity of 15 lakh. "The three-tier health infrastructure to treat COVID according to severity now includes 2,084 dedicated COVID hospitals (of which 89 are under the Centre and the rest 1,995 with States), 4,043 dedicated COVID health centres and 12,673 COVID care centres. They have 18,52,265 beds in total including the 4,68,974 beds in the dedicated COVID hospitals."
Dr Harsh Vardhan also said that 34,228 ventilators were granted to the states by the Centre last year, further assuring a fresh supply of ventilators.
The minister also, reiterating government's permission, asked the states to utilise up to 50 per cent of their annual allocation of the State Disaster Response Fund and the unspent pending balance under the National Health Mission as on April 1 for COVID-19 management purposes.