The number of coronavirus cases in India crossed the 2 million mark on Wednesday evening. India currently is the third worst-hit country in the world in terms of COVID-19 cases, with the United States and Brazil before it, according to the World Health Organisation. The first case of novel coronavirus was detected in the country on January 30, and numbers have increased progressively. As testing increased in the country, the daily additions to the coronavirus tally has gone up from a few hundreds in the beginning to more than 50,000 now.
Within 24 hours to 8 AM on Thursday, India saw the highest single-day spike of 56,282 new COVID-19 cases and 904 deaths, according to Health Ministry data. Pro-active approach to testing has also led to an increase in number of cases coming to light. So far, India has conducted 2,21,49,351 tests, with 6,64,949 tests conducted on Wednesday alone.
The government has said that the recovery rate continues to improve and has reached 67.19 per cent. The fatality rate has dropped to 2.09 per cent. "With increasing number of COVID-19 patients recovering, there has been a 63.8 per cent increase in recovered cases in the last 14 days, indicating that the COVID-19 response and management driven by the Centre's 'TEST, TRACK, TREAT' strategy is yielding the desired results," said the ministry in a statement.
However, states continue to report an increase in the number of cases, with Maharashtra topping the charts. Maharashtra has 1,46,268 active cases, 3,05,521 discharged and 16,476 deaths. Tamil Nadu has 54,184 active cases, 2,14,815 discharged and 4,461 deaths. Delhi has 10,072 active cases, 1,26,116 discharged and 4,044 deaths.
Meanwhile, Centre has released Rs 890.32 crore as the second instalment of the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness package to 22 states and union territories. States that received the financial assistance in the second tranche include Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim. The amount of financial assistance to each state and Union Territories is based on their COVID-19 caseload.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the Rs 15,000 crore package as part of the 'Whole of Government' approach wherein the Centre is leading the COVID-19 response and management, and supporting the states and UTs through technical and financial resources.
The second instalment of the aid will be used to strengthen public health infrastructure for testing, including procurement and installation of RT-PCR machines, RNA extraction kits, TrueNat and CB-NAAT machines, bolster infrastructure for treatment and development of ICU beds, installation of oxygen generators and procurement of bedside oxygen concentrators among others.
It would also be used for engagement, training and capacity building of necessary human resources and incentives to healthcare workforce and volunteers, including ASHA workers on COVID-19 duties, the health ministry said, adding that wherever necessary, volunteers registered on the COVID Warriors portal may also be engaged in coronavirus duties.