Maharashtra, Kerala reported more than half of India's cases last week, says Centre
Maharashtra and Kerala recorded more than half of the Covid-19 cases registered in India last week, the Centre said on Friday as it stressed that the pandemic is far from over and there is no room for complacency.
In a press conference, a senior official said, "The country is still dealing with the second wave and we need to introspect if we can afford misplaced belief that Covid-19 is over."
The government said visuals from tourist spots and the way people are mingling without following Covid protocols is "a serious cause of concern" and that such negligence will increase the risk of virus spread.
Joint secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal referred to recent spikes in cases in some countries, including Russia and the UK, to caution people against lowering their guard.
He pitched for strictly following Covid-19 protocols such as wearing of mask and maintaining of physical distancing.
He said more than half of the Covid-19 cases reported in India last week were from two states -- Maharashtra (21 per cent) and Kerala (32 per cent) -- and stressed on following containment measures.
The official said 80 per cent of the new Covid cases in India are reported from 90 districts in 15 states and union territories, which indicates the need for focussed attention in these areas.
He also said 66 districts across 17 states and UTs reported Covid-19 positivity rate of more than 10 per cent in the week ending July 8.
India logged 43,393 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of cases to 3,07,52,950, while the active cases have declined to 4,58,727, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.
The death toll has climbed to 4,05,939 with 911 fresh fatalities.
NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said Covid-19 in pregnant women can increase certain risks like pre-term delivery, that is why it is important for them to take the vaccine.
The government also said that no cases with the Lambda variant of SARS-CoV-2 had been found in India so far.
Responding to a question at a press briefing, joint secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal said Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) was closely monitoring the variant.
Paul said the Lambda variant was a variant of interest, so its total significance was still being explored.
"As far as we know it has not entered our country, we have not detected this variant in our country. Our surveillance system INSACOG is very effective and it will detect it if it happens to enter our country because when you do sequencing, all this will be picked up. So we should watch for that," he said