Andhra Pradesh sees the highest daily count of new cases in five months, braces itself for the second wave of COVID-19

Published : April 07, 2021 14:01 IST

The scene at the fishing harbour in Visakhapatnam on April 6. Photo: K.R. DEEPAK

With 1,730 COVID-19 new cases in the 24-hour period ending at 7 p.m. on April 4, the highest daily count since November 11, 2020, Andhra Pradesh is bracing itself for the impending second wave of the deadly virus.

This surge over the past few days—1,184 (March 31); 1,271 (April 1); 1,288 (April 2); 1,398 (April 3); 1,730 (April 4); and 1,326 (April 5)—has pushed the number of active cases in the State to 11,809, the highest caseload since November 28, 2020. During the past week, the number of new infections has grown by an average of 0.1 per cent every day, with the State’s confirmed per million (CPM) rate also going up to 17,444, meaning out of every 10-lakh people in Andhra Pradesh, 17,444 have tested positive for the virus. India has a CPM of 9,537.7.

Officials in the State view the new surging numbers as the start of the second wave in Andhra Pradesh. Speaking to Frontline, Dr Arja Srikanth, the State COVID Nodal Officer, said: “There is no doubt. The surge in new infections started in early March. This is the start of the second wave in the State. It started from Mumbai and has spread to various cities including Hyderabad and Bengaluru.”

He attributed the spurt in cases primarily to the cross movement of people from outside the State and across the State, which, he stressed, “has helped spread the virus in Andhra Pradesh”. Srikanth also said people had let their vigilance down and had become lackadaisical. He said: “For the past year, the government has been asking people to strictly follow COVID protocols issued by the health authorities in order to prevent the spread of the virus. We have asked people to follow the three mandatory rules—using face masks, maintaining physical distance and frequent cleaning of hands. But are they following it? They are not taking the responsibility of protecting themselves.” Srikanth disclosed that the State was collecting, on an average, Rs.30 lakh per day by way of fines from people who were not following the mask mandate.

Out of Andhra Pradesh’s total of 9,10, 943 confirmed cases since the pandemic struck, the worst-hit districts are East Godavari (1,25,500); West Godavari (94,606); Chittoor (91,444); Guntur (79,758); Anantapur (68,698); SPS Nellore (64,008); Prakasam (62,989); Visakhapatnam (62,922); Kurnool (61,977); YSR Kadapa (56,136); and Krishna (51,413). The worst-hit districts in the second wave have been Guntur, where the number of cases has shot up from 10 fresh cases on March 10 to 271 on April 5; Chittoor, up from 45 fresh cases on March 21 to 282 on April 5; and Visakhapatnam, up from 27 fresh cases on March 21 to 222 on April 5. The districts of Krishna and Nellore have also reported more than 100 new infections per day for the past few days.

Andhra Pradesh’s case fatality ratio (CFR) hovers around 0.8 per cent. While the CFR in neighbouring Telangana is better at 0.6 per cent, it is worse in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu where it stands at 1.2 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively. Andhra Pradesh’s active ratio is 1.1 per cent (for every 100 confirmed cases, ~1 person is currently infected). Andhra Pradesh continues to conduct around 31,000 tests per day, the State’s tests per million standing at 2,91,819.7. The State has conducted 1,52,39,114 tests so far.

While the Andhra Pradesh government is yet to announce a lockdown or impose any restriction on the movement of people, either coming to the State or travelling within the State, Dr Arja Srikanth said that the government has asked District Collectors to impose localised restrictions, depending on the severity of the spread of the virus. The police have also been directed to be vigilant and fine those not following the rules regarding the wearing of masks or mass gathering.

He also appealed to the people to get themselves vaccinated against the coronavirus. The total number of vaccinations administered in Andhra Pradesh as of April 6 stands at 32,03,517. While 27,60,634 have been administered the first shot of the vaccine, 4,42,883 have taken the second dose as well. Covishield has been administered to about 80 percent while Covaxin has been administered to the rest.

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