India must gear for at least two more months of COVID-19, a summary of a meeting on Saturday involving top officials from the Health Ministry suggests.

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“Health care infrastructure needs to be ramped up for the next two months with focus on isolation beds with oxygen, ventilators and ICU beds,” a PIB press note summarising the meeting notes.

About 70% of India’s cases are emerging from 11 “municipal areas” in seven States: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan, the Ministry said in a statement. “The major challenge lies in those corporations having shorter doubling time, higher mortality rate and a higher confirmation rate than the national average.” This was part of a meeting convened by Secretary, Health Ministry, Preeti Sudan, in which the Health and Urban Development Secretaries, Municipal Commissioners and officials from these 11 areas had participated.

On Saturday, India posted yet another record high of 6,654 confirmed cases taking the number of confirmed cases, according to the Ministry, to 1,25,101, a few thousand below Iran. There were 3,720 deaths as of Saturday with 137 since Friday. The Ministry said 1,15,000 tests were conducted from Friday-Saturday and 2.8 million tests across the nation. It said 51,784 have so far recovered.

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Testing needed to be increased in certain municipal areas to ensure early case detection, timely clinical management and a reduction in the fatality rate.

There were also lacunae in sample collection, establishing partnerships with private hospitals to increase bed capacity, waste disposal, disinfection of positive areas and management of camps for migrant labourers.

Mumbai would soon start a public portal displaying bed availability with unique ID numbers for each bed and a GPS-backed ambulance tracking system. Indore was focusing on contact tracing and active house-to-house survey, the PIB said.

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