During his meeting with health ministers of 11 states to review the COVID-19 situation, Indian Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Punjab have the UK variant of the virus and said that the reasons behind the surge in fresh infections could be marriages, local body elections and farmers' protests.
"It has come to notice that this surge in cases is event-driven like big fat weddings, local body elections, farmer protest, etc could also play a possible role," Vardhan said.
The strain was confirmed through genomic sequencing, an advanced test that determines the precise genetic information a virus carries as they mutate and spread.
Punjab is witnessing farmers' protest since last year against the three newly enacted farm laws - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The Health Minister also expressed concerns about the COVID-19 situation in Chattisgarh and described it as the worst-affected state with a 10-fold rise in coronavirus cases.
"Worst-affected state is Chattisgarh. Raipur and Durg are seeing a spike in cases. 20 per cent positivity rate and growth rate is 8 per cent from 400 to 4,000 has risen, almost 10 folds," Vardhan said.
On the COVID-19 situation in Delhi, Vardhan said, "We have witnessed a declining trend for a very long time but now when the rising trend is being witnessed. Earlier less than 100 cases were observed (in a day), now the number has risen to 5,000 cases."
"The Government of India has sent 50 central teams to Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Punjab where 30 districts of Maharashtra, 11 districts of Chattisgarh and 9 districts of Punjab will be covered. They will stay 3-5 days in these districts," he informed.
Meanwhile, India reported more than 96,982 cases new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Health Ministry yesterday.