The number of active coronavirus cases in the country has witnessed a sustained downward trend – remaining below six lakh for the fourth day in a row – and such cases are now less than seven per cent of the total, the Union Health Ministry said Monday. On September 3, the active caseload was over 21 per cent of total reported cases around 82.3 lakh, the ministry added.
India, the ministry also said, continues to lead the world in term of people recovering from infection by the novel coronavirus, with the total crossing 75 lakh after more than 53,000 people were discharged from hospitals and medical care facilities in the past 24 hours.
This morning over 45,000 new cases were reported in the preceding 24 hours – the eighth consecutive day with fewer than 50,000 fresh infections and a significant drop from the 81,000 reported exactly one month ago.
However, the average daily positivity rate – which indicates how widespread the infection could be – has increased from 4.6 per cent to 5.3 per cent. This has been attributed to increased testing.
According to the data around 8.6 lakh tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, compared to 9.4 lakh this time last week and 9.9 lakh this time last month. Overall, since the pandemic began, more than 11 crore COVID-19 tests have been conducted.
This expanded testing has led to “early identification and appropriate treatment”, the ministry said.
Amid the positive signs, though, experts have warned of possible spikes across the country with the onset of winter and the arrival of the festive season.
In Delhi, for example, as the air quality falls (due, in part, to the burning of farm wastes by neighbouring states), there have been over 5,000 new cases per day for the past five days.
On Friday the city logged nearly 6,000 cases. In the past 24 hours, around 5,600 more cases have been detected, adding further stress to the already burdened health infrastructure.
Similarly, in Kerala over 7,000 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours. Maharashtra, which remains the worst-affected state, saw over 5,000 cases in 24 hours.
Both Karnataka and Bengal reported nearly 4,000 new cases.
With Diwali still to come and winter beginning to set in across northern India, many medical experts have expressed caution about relaxation of restrictions, even as central and state governments go through a phased “unlocking” of the economy.
Yesterday the Delhi government allowed public buses to operate at full seating capacity (previously limited to 20 passengers) and weddings in closed spaces to have 200 guests.
Many countries in the northern hemisphere, including Spain and France – now the fifth worst-hit nation in the world with nearly 15 lakh cases – have seen a fresh surge due to the change in season. The United Kingdom, for example, has announced a second nationwide lockdown.