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Centre says cases spiking due to lockdown violation

NEW DELHI: With nearly 230 new cases of COVID-19 being confirmed in the country in last 24 hours, the government blamed non-complying citizens for violating lockdown norms saying it has led to the spike in cases.The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that as the number of hotspots of the disease has increased, it is implementing rigorous contact tracing and cluster containment strategies. The number of confirmed cases at the time of reporting stood at 1,251 while 32 deaths—from Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh — have been confirmed due to the infection.

The cluster containment or red-zone approach, officials explained, involved promptly checking every household within 3 km, 5km or 10 km radius of the house of an infected person—depending on the total confirmed cases— and also identifying those who have come in contact with the affected, to prevent community spread of the virus.

“Extensive contact tracings are being done to identify people who have come in contact with the confirmed patients while there are also household surveys being carried out to see if COVID 19 symptoms or influenza-like illnesses are present in people in identified areas,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry in the daily briefing on Tuesday. Rapid response teams working with local health officials are implementing the plan. The health workers are urging those with symptoms such as cough, fever and breathing difficulty to get themselves tested and stay home quarantined.

Till Tuesday morning, there were 16 hotspots identified in the country—spread across many states. Dr Sujit Kumar Singh, director, National Communicable Disease Centre, under the health ministry, said these hotspots were further categorized as per the distribution of cases. “The districts where a large number of cases have been found in multiple localities are a bigger worry for us, as opposed to cities where cases are confined to few localities or clusters,” said Dr Singh. On Tuesday, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)under the department of pharmaceuticals directed drug manufacturers to produce and maintain sufficient stocks of essential drugs at any point in time. “All efforts are made to ensure production of drugs and medical devices during the period of lockdown,” NPPA said.