The total number of COVID-19 cases in the country increased by six per cent during a 24-hour period starting 8 am Friday, the government said this morning. This is the lowest daily growth rate recorded since India crossed 100 positive coronavirus cases last month. The data was revealed at a high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting chaired by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
The GoM was also told the death rate is around 3.1 per cent and the recovery rate is over 20 per cent, “which is comparatively better than most (other) countries and may be taken as a positive effect of the lockdown, along with cluster management and containment strategy”, the Health Ministry said.
As per government data this morning, 1,429 new cases were reported in the previous 24 hours, taking the total number of cases in India to 24,506. On Friday evening 1,752 new cases – the biggest single-day spike in numbers recorded so far – were detected over a similar period.
The growth rate on Friday evening was around 7.48 per cent. This fell to around 5.8 per cent as per this morning’s data. Growth rate is calculated as a percentage of the number of fresh cases divided by the total number of cases.
The data comes two days after the government said growth in new coronavirus cases was “more or less linear, not exponential”. The government also pointed to an improvement in recovery rate and increase in doubling time as indications the lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month is working to contain the novel coronavirus.
“The growth of COVID-19 cases has been more or less linear, not exponential; this indicates that the strategies we adopted have succeeded in containing the infection to a particular level,” CK Mishra, chairman of one of 11 groups set up by PM Modi to deal with the crisis, said, adding, “During the lockdown, we have been able to cut transmission, minimise spread and increase doubling days”.
Recovery rate is expressed as a percentage of people who have recovered from the infection divided by the total number of cases, while doubling time is calculated as the time it takes for the number of cases to increase by two.
This morning the GoM was told the doubling time stood at 9.1 days; it was 10 days on Friday, as compared to 3.4 days before the lockdown. And as of Saturday morning, the recovery rate stood at 20.66 per cent, up from 9.99 per cent last week.
The GOM was also briefed on state-wise details of COVID-19 hospitals, along with the adequacy of isolation beds and wards, PPE (personal protective equipment) kits, N95 face masks, drugs, ventilators and oxygen cylinders, among others, the health ministry said.
The GoM also reviewed the testing strategy and availability of testing kits across the country, along with the strategy for hotspots and cluster management.
In terms of the spread of the virus, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi have around 50 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the country; Maharashtra alone has over 6,800 positive cases.
In total seven states, including the above three and Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, have around 80 per cent of all cases, with each reporting over 1,600 cases.
Overall the total number of novel coronavirus cases in the country stands at 24,506 with 775 deaths linked to the infectious virus. Worldwide nearly 28 lakh have been infected and over 1.95 lakh people have died.