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Increase in Covid Cases in Maharashtra, Punjab Raises Serious Concern: Center | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Center said Wednesday that the increase in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra and Punjab is a matter of “grave concern.” Both states continue to report a large number of cases in proportion to their population.
As of Tuesday, Maharashtra and Punjab had reported 28,699 and 2,254 fresh infections, respectively, which together account for more than 65% of all cases in India.

“Two states are of great concern, which have shown a recent increase in cases: Maharashtra, which reported more than 28,000 cases in the last 24 hours and Punjab, which is reporting a large number of cases in proportion to its population,” said the Secretary of Health of the Union. Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference.
Bhushan said that in addition to these two, the rapid rise in Covid infections in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh is also cause for concern.

“Most of the cases in Gujarat are concentrated in Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar. In MP, the cases are concentrated in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Ujjain and Betul,” said the health secretary.
He further said that overall, nine of the top 10 districts in India where peak cases are concentrated are in Maharashtra, while one is in Karnataka. These are: Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad, Bengaluru Urban, Nanded, Jalgaon and Akola.
Speaking about the Center’s decision to expand the vaccination campaign to include everyone over the age of 45, he said: “About 88 percent of all Covid-19 deaths in the country occur above the age group of 45 years. The case the mortality rate over 45 years is 2.85%. Therefore, this age group is vulnerable and the decision has been made based on scientific contributions. ”
‘Double mutant’
Earlier today, the Union Health Ministry had said that a new “double mutant variant” of SARS-CoV-2 had been detected in India, in addition to several “worrying variants” that have already been found in at least 18 states.
Analysis of samples from Maharashtra has revealed that compared to December 2020, there has been an increase in the fraction of samples with the E484Q and L452R mutations, the ministry said.
Speaking about novel coronavirus variants, National Center for Disease Control Director SK Singh said 771 worrisome variants (VOCs) have been detected in 18 states and union territories, including 736 virus-positive specimens. United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) lineage.
So far, no link has been made to say that the increase seen in some states is directly due to mutations alone.
There are several reasons behind a sudden increase.
States that have a larger group of susceptible populations are likely to see an increase in cases. As long as the susceptible population lets their guard down and does not follow proper Covid-19 behavior, they will contract the infection, be it the normal virus or the mutants, he said.
There are only three variants of concern, detected in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.
In addition to these, some other variants of interest have also been found in some states, including Maharashtra and Delhi, which need to be further analyzed and investigated, he added.
“From now on, in the best of cases, it can be said that they are variants that are being investigated,” the ministry said.
“Although VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, they have not been detected in sufficient numbers to directly establish or link or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states,” the ministry said.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

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