An eatery at Bengaluru's Jayanagar being sanitised after the Karnataka government allowed hotels and restaurants to open for the public with precautionary measures, amid the ongoing fifth phase of the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, on June 7, 2020.
An eatery at Bengaluru's Jayanagar being sanitised after the Karnataka government allowed hotels and restaurants to open for the public with precautionary measures, amid the ongoing fifth phase of the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, on June 7, 2020. |IANS

India COVID-19 toll goes past 7,000, new single-day high of 9,983 cases of infection

By Sonny Abraham/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, June 8, 2020

India today reported 206 more deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19), taking the toll past the 7000-mark to 7,135, even as the total number of confirmed cases of infection in the country spiked by 9,983 -- the most in a single day -- to take the total to 256,611 so far.

The country is now placed fifth in the world, after the United States, Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom, as far as the total number of cases is concerned, ahead of countries like Spain, Italy, Peru, France and Germany.

In terms of the number of deaths, India is now placed in the 12th spot after the US, the UK, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, Belgium, Germany, Iran, and Canada.

Figures released by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) this morning said that the 206 new deaths included 91 in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, followed by 30 in Gujarat, 18 each in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, 13 each in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, nine in Rajasthan, four in Haryana, two each in Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka and Uttarakhand, and one each in Odisha and Punjab.

This is the fifth consecutive day that India has recorded in excess of 9,000 new cases of infection. The country has also reported more than 200 deaths each day since the beginning of this month. The highest number of deaths in a single day -- 294 -- was reported on June 6.

In Maharashtra, the 91 new deaths on Sunday pushed the death toll in the state past the 3,000-mark to 3,060 even as 3,007 new cases -- the second highest in a day --- took the total number of cases to 85,975 so far.

Sunday's deaths marked a two-digit toll after five consecutive days of deaths in excess of 100.

Maharashtra has been recording 75-plus fatalities and over 2,000 new patients for the past 13 days, with the single-day highest figure of 3,041 infections notched on May 24.

Of the 91 deaths, 61 were recorded in Mumbai, the worst-hit city in the country. The toll in the city has now risen to 1,638. The number of COVID-19-positive cases in the city rose by 1,420 to touch 48,884.

Of the total of 7,135 deaths in India so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number at 3,060, followed by 1,249 in Gujarat, 761 in Delhi, 412 in Madhya Pradesh, 396 in West Bengal, 275 in Uttar Pradesh, 269 in Tamil Nadu, 240 in Rajasthan, 123 in Telangana, 75 in Andhra Pradesh, 61 in Karnataka, 51 in Punjab, 41 in Jammu & Kashmir, 30 in Bihar, 28 in Haryana, 15 in Kerala, 13 in in Uttarakhand, nine in Odisha, seven in Jharkhand, five each in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, four each in Assam and Chhattisgarh, and one each in Ladakh and Meghalaya.

The total of 256,611 cases so far includes those who have died as well as 124,095 patients who have recovered, which means that the number of active cases in the country stood at 125,381 as of this morning, up 4,975 from yesterday.

The number of patients who have recovered has gone up by 4,802 in the past 24 hours and the recovery rate is now 48.35%, according to the data.

Of the total of 256,611 cases so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest at 85,975 (as compared to 82,968 yesterday), followed by 31,667 (30,152) in Tamil Nadu, 27,654 (27,654) in Delhi, 20,070 (19,592) in Gujarat, 10,599 (10,331) in Rajasthan, 10,536 (9,733) in Uttar Pradesh, 9,401 (9,228) in Madhya Pradesh, 8,187 (7,738) in West Bengal, 5,452 (5,213) in Karnataka, 5,088 (4,915) in Bihar, 4,708 (4,510) in Andhra Pradesh, 4,448 (3,952) in Haryana, 4,087 (3,467) in Jammu & Kashmir, 3,580 (3,496) in Telangana, 2,856 (2,781) in Odisha, 2,608 (2,515) in Punjab, 2565 (2,397) in Assam, 1,914 (1,807) in Kerala, 1,355 (1,303) in Uttarakhand, 1,099 (1,000) in Jharkhand, 1,073 (923) in Chhattisgarh, 800 (747) in Tripura, 413 (400) in Himachal Pradesh, 314 (309) in Chandigarh, 300 (267) in Goa, 172 (157) in Manipur, 118 (107) in Nagaland, 103 (99) in Ladakh, 99 (99) in Puducherry, 51 (47) in Arunachal Pradesh, 36 (33) in Meghalaya, 34 (24) in Mizoram, 33 (33) in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, 20 (19) in Dadra & Nagar Haveli, and 7 (7) in Sikkim.

The Ministry said 9,189 cases were being re-assigned to various states.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry yesterday denied reports in a section of the media that suggested that the Government’s efforts towards containment and management of COVID-19 had excluded the larger wisdom of technical experts.

"These apprehensions and allegations are unfounded and baseless. The Government is constantly in consultation with experts for technical and strategic inputs, scientific ideas and domain-specific guidance to address the COVID-19 pandemic. A National Task Force (NTF) for COVID-19 is constituted by Secretary DHR-cum-DG-ICMR with Member (Health) NITI Aayog as Chairperson and Secretary (DoHFW) and Secretary (DHR) as Co-Chairs. The NTF comprises of 21 members including technical/domain experts from the government and outside the government. Predominant expertise in the Task Force is from public health and/or epidemiology. Given the complexity and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has experts from medicine, virology, pharmacology and programme implementation domains, as well," an official press release said.

"Further, the Task Force has constituted four expert groups. The expert groups on Epidemiology and Surveillance (13 members) and on Operations Research (15 Members) are almost entirely comprised of public health and epidemiology experts from the government and non-government arena.

"The Task Force has held over 20 meetings and has systematically contributed towards the scientific and technical response to the pandemic. Among other contributions, the Task Force has issued guidelines on testing, prevention, treatment and surveillance. In addition to the NTF, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also constituted a Group of Experts which has public health experts as members.

"A section of the media is also reporting on the decisions regarding India’s approach to the pandemic. The decision on lockdown was taken in the background of rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases. The doubling rate of cases had dropped to a low level pointing toward a dangerous trajectory of high case load and high mortality, as experienced by many western countries. The possibility that our health systems could soon be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, seemed to be real.

"Policies and strategies need to be calibrated to keep pace with the rapidly evolving situation nation is faced with. This virus is a new agent, not everything is known about it as yet. Government is fine-tuning the strategy based on emerging knowledge and experience on the ground.

"As is well known in public health, different stages of epidemic demand different response. In fact, the nuanced, step-wise response is known to be a positive characteristic of a resilient health system. The people, the WHO and the global health community have appreciated India’s proactive and pre-emptive approach to COVID-19. There was all round consensus on the lockdown among all state governments.

"The Government has already shared the information on the impact of lockdown and other restrictions on averting lakhs of infections and thousands of deaths, as also enormous gains in health system and people’s preparedness. Compared to countries that have eased lockdown such as UK, Itlay, Spain and Germany, India has reported the lowest numbers of cases/lakh population, at 17.23 cases/lakh population and 0.49 deaths/lakh population (as per WHO Situation Report dated 6th June 2020).

"The various policy decisions, interventions and strategies for containment and management of COVID-19 have been placed in public domain and its impact has been shared with people through various media platforms, regular media briefings, daily press releases from various Ministries/Departments (national and State), panel discussions on electronic and social media," the statement added.