The number of active COVID-19 cases in India has fallen to below 1.5 lakh according to official figures.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Tuesday that active COVID-19 cases comprise just 1.34 percent of the total number of confirmed cases of the disease. In 21 states and union territories, no deaths were recorded in the preceding 24 hours. New infections tallied at 10,584 versus 13,255 recoveries, facilitating a net decline of 2,749 active COVID-19 cases.
There remains, however, worry with spurts of new infections with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in multiple states. Maharashtra, in particular, has been identified as a potential cause for concern. The state – India’s worst-affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – has recorded rising cases since February 10th and, as of February 22nd, has recorded 59,937 new cases. In that timeframe, daily new infections have numbered at 4,610 on average. Active COVID-19 cases in the state rose to 53,113.
In response to rising infection numbers, Maharashtra has already imposed a one-week lockdown in Amravati and shuttered nightclubs in Pune. The state government has also issued missives to cities including Akolka, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Kalyan-Dombivli, Mumbai, Nashik, Navi Mumbai, Pimpri Chinchwad, Thane, Washim, and Yavatmal to further tighten restrictions. It has also imposed a prohibition on religious, social and political gatherings, including a temporary moratorium on political protests.
Maharashtra is not alone, as other states have also seen a spate of new infections. Governments in those states are contemplating or implementing new restrictions and even lockdown measures while strongly encouraging citizens to adhere to safety protocols such as mask-wearing and physical distancing measures. Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu also have COVID-19 in their crosshairs and have variously imposed restrictions on issues ranging from interstate travel to public gatherings. Additionally, as reported by The Hindustan Times, “Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have been asked by the Centre to ramp up testing and monitor new strains of the coronavirus after a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.”
India has been in the global headlines recently owing to its falling COVID-19 caseload, but concerns linger that the official tally may be a gross underestimate. Recently, a study of Karnataka households suggested the state’s COVID-19 case numbers could be almost 95 times the official tally. Consequently, India’s tally is potentially and plausibly substantially higher than the more than eleven million COVID-19 cases it has reported to date.