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Second wave: Hospital beds, oxygen and testing key issues in states reporting Covid spike

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The Centre had sent the special teams last week on the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Coronavirus in India update: As India is witnessing a second wave of COVID-19, Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh seem to be at the centre of this surge as they have been reporting the highest number of deaths related to coronavirus infections in the country. Amid this, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare sent central teams to the surge districts in these three states, according to a report in The Indian Express. The teams have now identified the key issues present there. In Maharashtra, three districts are witnessing very high hospital occupancy, while another three districts have issues regarding oxygen supply. Apart from this, in two districts, the teams have found malfunctioning ventilators.

Meanwhile, in the northern state of Punjab, two districts do not have dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, while three districts are witnessing a shortage of healthcare workers, and one other district does not have a lab for RT-PCR testing.

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Chhattisgarh is witnessing a shortage of RT-PCR testing in three of the districts, while there is limited availability of oxygen cylinders in the capital city. Meanwhile, high hospital occupancy rates are prevalent in four districts.

The Centre had sent the special teams last week on the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The second wave of COVID-19 has been maintaining a much rapid trajectory than the first one that India saw last year and the country has been reporting the highest number of daily cases it has ever seen for the past one week. Amid this, the number of active cases in the country has also reached 12,01,009 as of Monday morning, and this is the highest ever. The Union Health Ministry has been maintaining that Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala are cumulatively accounted for nearly 71% of the total active cases in the country, with Maharashtra alone housing 48.57% of the total active cases in India.

Daily deaths are also on a rise, with the country having reported 904 deaths in the past 24 hours, a significant increase of 839 deaths witnessed the day before that. Of these 904 deaths, Maharashtra is accountable for 349 fatalities, the maximum of all the states. Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh reported 122 deaths, UP reported 67, Punjab reported 59 and Gujarat accounted for 54, according to the data released by the Health Ministry on Monday.

Meanwhile, UP and Gujarat are also emerging as causes of concern. While UP has been mostly conducting the RT-PCR for testing, the testing numbers themselves have fallen in the state, the report said. However, this issue has been flagged by the Centre to state officials, who would now be ramping up the testing, to bring it to the high levels it had been maintaining during the surge in 2020.

Meanwhile, Gujarat’s Surat has been visited by three teams and these teams have looked at the gaps the district has in terms of response and assistance to health authorities during this situation. Surat is a concern, the report stated, because the RT-PCR testing in the district is quite low, and it had also failed to ramp up testing during the previous surge last year.

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