India is witnessing exponential growth in COVID-19 cases recently. With the data accessed on Thursday, India has a 40% increase in the caseload. India has recorded 3000 cases in the last 24 hours. This is the highest number of cases in the last 6 months. The active caseload in India stands at 13,509. 

According to data from the Union Health Ministry, the overall caseload of the country is now at 4,47,12,692. Also, 14 fatalities in the last 24 hours were reported from all over the country, and the total casualties climbed up to 5,30,862.

Which COVID Variant Is Driving This Wave?

According to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), Covid XBB.1.16 has been detected in cases recorded from India. The XBB 1.16 variant was first identified in January when two samples tested positive.

In February, a total of 59 samples were found. Experts have warned that this variant could be responsible for the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Health experts have flagged XBB.1.16 because the virus is mutating and evolving to dodge the hybrid immunity developed by people.

Dr. Karyakarte, head of the Microbiology department at BJ Government Medical College (BJMC), Pune, and state coordinator for genome sequencing, said, “We found it first during the sequencing at our laboratory. Special attention needs to be given to XBB.1.16., which is currently a variant of interest.

The reason for concern is that it is capable of transmitting at high speed. It has also gained additional mutations in its nucleotide and amino acid changes. It is a mutant strain of SARS-CoV-2, mainly of Omicron, which can smartly elude immunity.

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State Wise Reports And Precautions

Kerala reported 8 fatalities, whereas Maharashtra had 3 casualties. 2 deaths were reported in Delhi and 1 in Himachal Pradesh in the last 24 hours. Kerala, Gujarat, and Maharashtra are leading in the active caseload count, having 3389, 2136, and 2506 respectively. The Northeastern regions are currently having very few active cases. 

Delhi’s COVID cases have crossed the 300 mark, which has been the highest since August 2022, with the positivity rate rising to 13.89 percent. Whereas, in Maharashtra, Solapur and Sangli recorded 20.05 percent and 17.47 percent positivity rate, respectively, in March 2023.

Dr. Sanjeev Thakur, dean of BJMC, said, “We have made adequate arrangements, including beds, medicines, oxygen supply, and teams to handle any surge in cases. Many virus variants will come and go, but the only solution is COVID-appropriate behaviour and immunization. People should complete their immunization and take booster shots. Using a face mask is recommended. High-risk patients with morbid conditions should take extra precautions.

According to the ministry data updated at 8 am, daily positivity was recorded at 2.73 percent, while weekly positivity was lodged at 1.71 percent. Active cases now comprise 0.03 percent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has been recorded at 98.78 percent. The case fatality rate was recorded at 1.19 percent.

High-Level Meetings

Owing to the huge spurt in cases, the Prime Minister held a high-level meeting with all the officials on Tuesday. The Prime Minister directed officials to increase the genome sequencing of the COVID positive samples using the designated INSACOG laboratories.

This will help in tracking any new and emerging variants and planning an adequate response to tackle them. The Prime Minister also reviewed the preparedness of the States and Union Territories and said,  “Mock drills should be conducted regularly to ensure that our hospitals are ready.’

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan also chaired a high-level meeting on Monday with States and UTs through video conference to review the preparedness status. The Health Secretary stressed scaling up the COVID testing with a higher proportion of RT-PCR. 

Amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 in Delhi, Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj will hold an emergency meeting with specialist doctors, health department officials, and directors of several hospitals on Thursday afternoon.

With the rising cases of COVID, it is clear that it is far from over. Citizens should keep their masks on, and follow the same hygiene practices that they were following during the pandemic.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: The Hindustan Times, Jagran English, The Hindu

Find the blogger: Katyayani Joshi

This post is tagged under: rising case, COVID-19, Pune, Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, vaccination, fatality, hygiene, high proportions, high-level meetings, secretary, Union Health Ministry, Prime Minister, INSACOG, Covid XBB.1.16 

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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