73% of confirmed cases are from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan.


New Delhi: As the country gears up for the fourth phase of the lockdown to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus of the management strategy is likely to be on the states with the highest number of confirmed cases and fatalities. The strategy is based on the fresh data which suggests that 79% of India’s total coronavirus infection cases load is coming from just 30 municipal areas. If the figures are to be analysed in terms of states, it has also come to light that as much as 73% of confirmed cases (62,761) have been reported from just five states—Maharashtra (29,100), Tamil Nadu (10,108), Gujarat (9,931), Delhi (8,895) and Rajasthan (4,727).

As per the figures of the Health Ministry, as on Saturday morning, there have been 85,940 total confirmed cases out of which 30,153 patients have been cured / migrated, while 2,752 have died.

India has been under lockdown since 25 March. It has been extended twice— first till 3 May and then till 17 May. The Centre is likely to extend the lockdown further. However, there are indications that lockdown 4.0 will be different from the previous ones as the government is planning to offer some relaxations. The government has started planning the strategy for the fourth phase of the lockdown. Sources said that the fresh list of Red, Orange and Green zones may be released soon.

During the latest meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM), held under the chairmanship of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, it was stressed that the strategy will also revolve around the treatment and case fatality management, for which timely detection and contact tracing are the best way forward. There was also discussion on the challenges before the various states and Union Territories arising from the returning migrant labourers and returnees from abroad.

Subsequently, Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Health Ministry Rajesh Bhushan, along with senior officials held a high-level review meeting on Saturday with the Principal Health Secretaries, Municipal Commissioners, DMs and other officials from these 30 municipal areas. These 30 municipal areas are from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Odisha.

The measures taken by the officials and the staff of the municipal corporations for the management of Covid-19 cases were reviewed during the meeting. It was informed that fresh guidelines on management of Covid-19 in urban settlements are being shared. The meeting discussed the highlights of this strategy.

The GoM was apprised about various recommendations of the Centre for containment zone management pertaining to indicators, root causes and action required which have been shared with the states and the Union Territories. The GoM was informed that as on Friday, a total of 8,694 facilities comprising 919 dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, 2,036 health centres and 5,739 care centres with a total of 2,77,429 beds for severe and critical cases, 29,701 ICU beds and 5,15,250 isolation beds, are available. Also, 18,855 ventilators are now available to combat the virus.

It was also brought to the notice of the Group of Ministers that domestic manufacturers have reached the daily production capacity of nearly three lakh personal protective equipment (PPE) and an equal number of N-95 masks which is sufficient to meet the nation’s requirement in the near future. Moreover, ventilator manufacturing by domestic manufacturers has also started and orders have also been placed.

The Centre has provided 84.22 lakh N-95 masks and 47.98 lakh PPE to the states, Union Territories and Central institutions. ICMR DG Balram Bhargava informed the GoM that the testing capacity has increased in the country to 1,00,000 tests per day through 509 government and private laboratories. Nearly 20 lakh cumulative tests have been conducted in the country so. Advanced machines for ramping up testing capacity has also been procured and ordered.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had been equipped with the COBAS 6800, a fully automated, high-end machine for real-time PCR testing of Covid-19. The COBAS 6800 machine will provide quality, high-volume testing with a high throughput of test around 1,200 samples in 24 hours. The current availability of testing kits is sufficient enough and is being distributed through 15 depots of ICMR to the states and UTs, according to the health ministry.