Current surge correlates with rise in B1.617 lineage of COVID-19: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Varshan today held a video meeting with health ministers of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Delhi on the COVID-19 situation in the states. The Union Health Minister said that the genome sequencing indicates that the rise in the current surge seen over the last 1.5 month correlates with the rise in B1.617 lineage of SARS-CoV-2.

The B.1.617 sub-lineages appear to have higher rates of transmission, including observed rapid increases in prevalence in multiple countries.

The World Health Organisation classifying B.1.617 as a 'variant of concern' yesterday, said that the variant of the coronavirus first identified in India last year has been found in 44 countries. The UN body routinely assesses if variants of SARS-CoV-2 result in changes in transmissibility and severity, or if they lead to changes in public health and social measures' implementation by national health authorities.

Speaking about the current covid situation in the states, Harsh Vardhan said that Maharashtra continues to be the most affected state, although we see a declining trend since April 27, but still, the state is reporting around 50,000 new cases daily. Besides, Rajasthan, since May 8 is showing a rise in active cases, the daily number of deaths has gone above 150, he said.

India in the last 24 hours reported 4,120 new fatalities, taking the total death toll to 2,58,317. This comes a day after the country registered a record number of deaths due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, India added 3,62,727 new coronavirus infections in a day taking the COVID-19 tally of cases to 2,37,03,665, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Thursday.

The active cases have increased to 37,10,525 comprising 15.65 per cent of the total infections. The national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 83.26 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The country continues to account for 95 per cent of cases and 93 per cent of deaths in the South-East Asia Region, as well as 50 per cent of global cases and 30 per cent of global deaths,", the update added.

India on Wednesday recorded 4,205 deaths due to Covid, highest till date with 3,48,421 fresh cases, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

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