As COVID-19 fatalities in India crossed the 14,000 mark, the Centre on Tuesday said the country has one death from the disease per lakh population and the mortality rate is among the lowest as against the global average of 6.04 while there was no let up in the surge in new cases.
The country recorded 14,000 plus coronavirus cases for the fourth straight day as Delhi, the second worst affected state, witnessed the biggest single-day jump of 3,947 infections to take its tally to 66,602.
With the Union Health Ministry crediting India's low COVID-19 mortality rate to timely detection of cases, extensive contact tracing and effective clinical management, the recovery rate also steadily improved and it was nearly 57 per cent.
A total of 2,48,189 patients recovered so far, while there were 1,78,014 active cases, according to the ministry data.
During the last 24 hours, a total of 10,994 COVID-19 patients have recovered.
Till date, 14,011 people have died in India due to the viral infection with 312 fatalities reported in 24 hours till Tuesday 8 am, while 14,933 new cases took the total case load to 4,40,215.
India is in the eighth position in the global death count of 472,541. The United States accounts for the highest number of deaths totalling 120,402.
"Our aim is to work towards keeping a low mortality. The number of people infected is not important as long as the mortality is low," AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria told PTI.
He also said that considering the size of the country's population the absolute number of cases will be high as compared to other countries whose population is less.
"The focus and the effort from the very beginning has been on saving lives by early identification, building COVID-19 related infrastructure, ensuring oxygen support facility is available even at a district level and effective implementation of clinical management protocols."
Citing the World Health Organisation (WHO) Situation Report 154 dated June 22, the Health Ministry said the United Kingdom has registered 63.13 coronavirus-related fatalities per lakh population, while in Spain it is 60.60, Italy 57.19, the US 36.30, Germany 27.32, Brazil 23.68 and Russia 5.62.
'In India, early detection of cases, timely testing and surveillance, extensive contact tracing coupled with effective clinical management have helped to check case mortality,' the ministry said in a statement.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a total of 71,37,716 samples have been tested up to June 22 with 1,87,223 samples being analysed on Monday.
In some concern for the central forces, COVID-19 cases in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and the two other federal forces of National Security Guard (NSG) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have shot up to over 2,981 with 85 new infections being reported on Tuesday, official data showed.
These forces, as per the latest data accessed by PTI, have recorded 23 deaths due to the pandemic.
The CAPFs are the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
Of the total 14,011 deaths reported in the country so far, Maharashtra accounted for the highest 6,283 fatalities.
The other states reporting more than 500 deaths(number in brackets) are Delhi (2,233), Gujarat (1,684), Tamil Nadu (794), West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh with 569 each and Madhya Pradesh (521), according to the morning update of the health ministry.
Maharashtra also accounted for the highest number of 135,796 cases.
Taking a cue from the Tamil Nadu government, Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu said the state authorities might have to impose a lockdown in the city, after consulting experts, if the coronavirus cases continued its upward trend.
Chennai was back under intense lockdown from last Friday till June 30 after the state capital witnessed a massive surge in cases.
"If the situation continues like this, in the days to come we may have to think about lockdown," he told reporters.
Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy also favoured that Bengaluru be put under lockdown for 20 days.
'Bengaluru will become another Brazil,' the Janata Dal-Secular leader tweeted, cautioning that sealing some areas would not serve any purpose.
India is the fourth worst-hit nation by the pandemic after the US, Brazil and Russia.
Till Monday evening, Bengaluru had reported 1,398 coronavirus cases including 67 deaths and 411 discharges.
In the neighbouring state of Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the situation was becoming 'grave'.
The COVID-19 tally touched 3,503 with 141 new cases being reported.
The state has been witnessing a spike of over 100 cases for the fifth straight day.
The country's first coronavirus case was reported in Kerala on January 30.
Tamil Nadu reported 2,000 plus cases for the seventh successive day and over 2,500 cases for three consecutive days.
The COVID-19 tally mounted to 64,603 as 2,516 more people tested positive including a maximum of 1,380 from Chennai.
Chennai's share in the state count was 44,205.
A new quarantine strategy confining an estimated 7-8 lakh people to homes is expected to cut down chances of transmission of the coronavirus in Chennai, according to a top official of the city civic body.
The Home Quarantine Monitoring System (HQMS) has been taken up in the city with about 4,500 volunteers assigned to help and monitor those under 14-day quarantine in all 15 zones of the corporation, said Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) Commissioner G Prakash.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, meanwhile, requested Lt Governor Anil Baijal to scrap the system requiring every COVID-19 patient to visit a government-run centre for clinical assessment.
He said the national capital has been reporting nearly 3,000 cases every day and it is not feasible for every patient to undergo clinical assessment at COVID quarantine centres.
Delhi is the second worst affected state after Maharashtra in caseload as well as in death count which climbed to 2,301 after 68 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours, according to state authorities in the evening.