The GoM was also told that 15 central teams consisting of public health experts, epidemiologists and a senior joint secretary-level officer have been deployed to provide support to the states. Another central team is currently visiting Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana to boost the ongoing efforts for managing COVID-19, it said.
Meanwhile, a Central team consisting of Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Civil Affairs Kunal Kumar and others, visited Maharashtra’s Thane district which has reported 27,479 cases till Friday.
While Agarwal said efforts should be focused on reducing the mortality rate and suggested testing capacity be increased in the district, Pradip Vyas, principal secretary (health) in the Maharashtra government said the need of the hour was large-scale contact tracing, increasing the number of tests and setting up of more quarantine facilities.
Karnataka announces Sunday curfew from 5 July
Amid a rise in coronavirus infections, the Karnataka government announced a slew of decisions, including total lockdown on Sundays starting 5 July and revision in night curfew timings from 9 pm to 5am to 8 pm to 5 am with effect from 29 June.
The decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa with ministers and officials amid growing outcry by the Opposition to impose stringent lockdown measures to contain COVID-19 cases in the state.
“Lockdown would be imposed every Sunday, with effect from 5 July, 2020 until further orders. No activities shall be permitted on that day except essential services and supplies. All government offices shall remain closed on all Saturdays, along with second and fourth Saturdays with effect from 10 July,” said an official statement.
According to a bulletin released by the Karnataka health department, confirmed cases in the state surged to 11,923 as 918 more persons tested positive for the novel coronavirus while 11 succumbed to the diseases, taking the toll to 191. Four persons have so far died due to non-COVID-19 causes, the bulletin added.
States report new cases
New cases and fatalities were also reported in other states and UTs including Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi.
Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra rose to 1,59,133 with a record 5,318 new patients confirmed positive on Saturday. The toll due to the virus reached 7,273 with 167 fatalities coming to light on Saturday. Mumbai recorded 1,460 fresh COVID-19 cases and 41 deaths, taking the total number of infections in the metropolis to 73,747 and toll to 4,282, reported ANI quoting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
Gujarat too reported its highest single-day spike with 615 patients testing positive for the virus, taking the overall caseload to 30,773, the state health department said.
With the death of 18 patients on Saturday, the number of fatalities has gone up to 1,790. But the number of the recovered cases climbed to 22,417 after discharge of 379 patients in the day and the state now has 6,566, it said.
Former Gujarat chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela too tested positive for the novel coronavirus, reported News18. He is displaying mild symptoms and is currently quarantined at home.
Delhi on Saturday registered 2,948 new coronavirus cases and 66 deaths, taking the total number of cases to 80,188 and toll to 2,558. On Saturday, a serological survey to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the spread of COVID-19 in the National Capital commenced in some parts of the city.
“The serological survey has started from Saturday and will cover 20,000 people. The survey is being conducted door to door and will reveal the extent of coronavirus spread in Delhi,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in an online briefing.
Tamil Nadu reported 3,713 fresh COVID-19 infections and 68 deaths, taking the total number of cases to 78,335 and toll to 1,025 while Kerala recorded 195 new cases and 102 recoveries.
In the meantime, West Bengal recorded 521 new cases and 13 deaths, taking the total number of cases in the state to 16,711 and death toll to 629, reported ANI quoting the state health department.
Dexamethasone included in revised treatment protocols
In another development, the health ministry allowed the use of steroid drug dexamethasone for the treatment of COVID-19 patients who are moderately to severely ill. In its revised ‘Clinical Management Protocols for COVID-19’, the ministry said that dexamethasone can be used as an alternative choice to methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases. The change has been made after considering the latest available evidence and expert consultation, it added.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the corticosteroid dexamethasone was tested in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom’s national clinical trial ‘RECOVERY’ and was found to have benefits for critically-ill patients.
According to preliminary findings shared with the WHO, for patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one-third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one-fifth.
Globally, the viral infection has now affected as many as 96,52,307 while 4,91,115 people have died due to the disease, according to that WHO COVID-19 database.
With inputs from agencies