India sees record rise of 12,881 COVID-19 cases
NEWDELHI, 18th Jun: As India recorded its biggest single-day jump of 12,881 COVID-19 cases, the testing strategy was expanded with the launch of a rapid antigen-based diagnostic tool here on Thursday amid an assertion by Prime Minister Narendra Modi the country is not going to "sit and wail" over the coronavirus crisis.
With testing remaining a cornerstone in the fight against COVID-19, Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan also launched the first mobile laboratory for coronavirus diagnosis which can be deployed in rural areas and help in promoting last-mile testing.
According to the Union Health Ministry data, India's COVID-19 tally rose to 3,66,946 while the death toll climbed to 12,237 with 334 new fatalities. The fatality rate has risen from 2.8 to 3.3 per cent in the last two days.
From June 1 till 18, the country saw a surge of 1,76,411 coronavirus cases with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, which are the five worst affected states, accounting for the rising tally. The recovery rate is currently around 53 per cent.
As cases spike in the national capital and in the satellite towns, Union Home Minister Amit Shah favoured a unified strategy for Delhi and NCR, and said suburban cities like Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad can't be separated from the national capital in the battle against the pandemic. “India will not only fight against coronavirus, but will also win the battle and move forward. India is not going to sit and wail over the crisis,” Modi said at an event to mark the launch of commercial coal block mining.
Modi also went on to say that howsoever big the crisis might be, the country is determined to turn it into an opportunity. “This coronavirus crisis has given India lessons in being Atmanirbhar, that is, Self-Reliant!”
The rapid antigen-based test on swabbed nasal samples will allow infected patients to be diagnosed much faster, at lower rates and without laboratory examination. It will help cover a large population in a short span of time and with quick results authorities can modify their strategies accordingly.
The Delhi government commenced this testing at 169 centres in and around containment zones of the city.
A total of 341 teams are involved in the testing process, an official said.
According to Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, the Centre plans to conduct six lakh rapid antigen tests at these 169 facilities. "Two important things happened today. COVID-19 testing rates in Delhi have been reduced to Rs 2,400 and rapid-antigen testing has started. I hope people won't face any problem in getting themselves tested now," said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi stood at 47,102 of which 17,457 had recovered while the death toll stood at 1,904.