Covid-19 cases in India witnessed the biggest spike for the second consecutive day on Saturday, with 6,654 new infections in 24 hours, taking the tally to over 125,000, while the toll rose to 3,720 after 137 more deaths, the Union health ministry said.
Active cases rose to 69,597, while 51,783 people have recovered and a patient has migrated, according to the ministry bulletin. Sikkim reported its first case as a 25-year-old student who returned from Delhi tested positive for the disease.
“Around 41.39 per cent patients have recovered so far,” a health ministry official said.
The total of 125,101 cases includes foreigners.
Among those who lost their lives due to the disease was eminent pulmonologist Dr J N Pande, former head of the Department of Medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. He had tested positive earlier this week. Dr Pande had comorbid conditions.
Of the 137 deaths reported since Friday morning, 63 were in Maharashtra, 29 in Gujarat, 14 each from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, six from West Bengal, four from Tamil Nadu, two each from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh, and one from Haryana.
Of the total toll of 3,720, Maharashtra tops the tally with 1,517 deaths, followed by Gujarat at 802, Madhya Pradesh at 272, West Bengal at 265 and Delhi at 208. The number of deaths because of the contagion in Rajasthan is 153, while 152 people died in Uttar Pradesh, 98 in Tamil Nadu, and 55 in Andhra Pradesh.
The death toll reached 45 in Telangana, 41 in Karnataka, and 39 in Punjab. There are 20 fatalities in Jammu and Kashmir, 16 in Haryana, and 11 in Bihar. Seven people have succumbed to the disease in Odisha, and four each in Kerala and Assam so far.
More than 70 percent of the deaths are because of comorbidities, according to the ministry website. The highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 44,582, followed by Tamil Nadu at 14,753, Gujarat at 13,268, and Delhi at 12,319.
There are 6,494 coronavirus cases in Rajasthan, 6,170 in Madhya Pradesh, and 5,735 in Uttar Pradesh. The number of infections has gone up to 3,332 in West Bengal, 2,709 in Andhra Pradesh, and 2,177 in Bihar. As many as 2,029 people have been infected with the virus in Punjab, 1,761 in Telangana, 1,743 in Karnataka, 1,489 in Jammu and Kashmir, and 1,189 in Odisha.
In Haryana , 1,067 people are afflicted with the deadly disease, while Kerala has 732 cases, followed by Jharkhand with 308, and 259 in Assam. Chandigarh has reported 218 cases, while 175 people have tested positive in Tripura, and 172 Chhattisgarh.
There are 168 cases of the pathogen in Himachal Pradesh, 153 in Uttarakhand, and 54 in Goa. Ladakh has reported 44 cases, while the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has registered 33 infections.
Manipur and Puducherry have registered 26 cases each, followed by Meghalaya with 14. Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Dadar and Nagar Haveli have reported a case each so far. “1,899 cases are being reassigned to states,” the ministry said on its website, adding: “Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR.” Statewide distribution is subject to further verification and reconciliation, it said.
Meanwhile, as Indian firms scramble to develop a vaccine for the disease, experts feel that research in the country is still at a nascent stage and any concrete breakthrough is not likely within a year.
The Indian government and private firms have stepped up efforts to develop a vaccine to halt the spread of Covid-19. The PM CARES Fund Trust has decided to allocate ~100 crore for support to the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
Referring to a vaccine to fight the virus, a PMO statement had earlier said that it is the most pressing need and Indian academia, start-ups and the industry have come together to find a cutting-edge vaccine design and then develop it.
The Department of Biotechnology has been made a central coordination agency to identify pathways for the same.
Naming the Indian firms working on vaccines, Gagandeep Kang, executive director of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad, had said last month that while Zydus Cadila is working on two vaccines, Serum Institute, Biological E, Bharat Biotech, Indian Immunologicals, and Mynvax are developing one vaccine each. The WHO has listed Serum Institute of India, Zydus Cadila, Indian Immunologicals and Bharat Biotech among the firms involved in developing a vaccine.