The Centre on Tuesday said COVID-19 was spreading at a fast pace with an increase in the intensity of the pandemic and the next four weeks are going to be very critical. Addressing a presser, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said the pandemic situation in the country worsened with a sharp rise in cases and a large part of the population is "still susceptible" to the virus. Paul said the tools to fight the pandemic remain the same -- COVID-appropriate behaviour, containment measures, testing. These have to be implemented more efficiently, medical infrastructure has to be ramped up and vaccination drive intensified, he said.
He reminded people of COVID-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, staying away from crowds in a campaign mode. "The intensity of the pandemic has increased and it is spreading faster than last time. In some states, it (the condition) is worse than others but the upswing (in cases) can be observed across the country," he said.
"People's participation is vital to control the second wave. The next four weeks are going to very critical. The entire country has to come together and make efforts to fight the pandemic."
He said the number of coronavirus cases is increasing and along with that mortality is also on the rise. "Still, in terms of the population size and in terms of deaths per million we are doing well and the pandemic is in control."
Detailing the COVID-19 situation in India, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said Chhattisgarh's Durg is among the top 10 districts with high active COVID cases.
"Among these 10 districts, seven are in Maharashtra and one in Karnataka. Delhi, counted as one district, is also in the list."
The 10 districts with the highest number of new cases are Pune, Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Nashik, Bengaluru Urban, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Delhi and Durg, he said.
Bhushan further said that Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh still remain states of maximum concern. "Given their population, the number of deaths being reported by Punjab and Chhatisgarh is a cause of extreme concern," he said.
The Centre has constituted 50 high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams and deployed them to districts reporting a surge in cases and mortality in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab, the Union health secretary said.
These teams were being deployed in 30 districts of Maharashtra, 11 of Chhattisgarh and nine of Punjab.
Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal were among the states that administered the maximum number of COVID vaccine doses, Bhushan said and emphasised that the immunisation drive has to be ramped up in a scientific manner. (With PTI inputs)