The number of COVID-19 hotspot districts in India as on Wednesday morning has come down to 129 from 170 a fortnight ago, but in the same period the number of infection-free districts or green zones too decreased from 325 to 307, according to official sources.
During this time, the number of non-hotspot districts, also known as orange zones, increased from 207 to 297, they said.
The Centre had on April 15 classified districts into three categories.
Those with a high load of COVID-19 cases or which have a high growth rate of the disease are marked as hotspots or red zones, while those with considerably fewer cases of the respiratory infection fall in orange zone or non-hotspots. Districts with no COVID-19 cases are categorized as green zones.
However, a red zone or orange zone district can be demarcated as green zone if no new coronavirus case is reported from those places for 28 and 14 days respectively.
On April 15, the Centre had declared 170 districts across 25 states and Union Territories as coronavirus hotspots. Of these, 123 were hotspot districts with large outbreaks and 47 with clusters. It had also said 325 districts had not reported any coronavirus case because of actions initiated at field level.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that 80 districts in the country have not reported any new case of COVID-19 in last seven days while 47 districts have not registered any fresh case in the last 14 days.
Also, 39 districts have not reported any instance of the infection in the last 21 days and 17 districts have not registered any new case for the last 28 days, he had said.
The government has already identified 15 districts in nine states, including Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat, as having “high case load”. Of these, seven — Hyderabad (Telangana), Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Delhi show particularly high case volumes.
Other high case load places that are “critical” in the battle against COVID-19 include — Vadodara (Gujarat), Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Agra (Uttar Pradesh), Thane (Maharashtra), Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Surat (Gujarat).
“These 15 districts are critical in our battle against COVID-19. Of them 7 show particularly high case volumes. India’s success in battling COVID-19 is dependent on them. We must aggressively monitor, contain, test, treat in these districts! We must win here,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant tweeted on Monday.
A senior health ministry said the doubling time of coronavirus cases in India was three to 3.25 days before the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25 and now it is 10.2 to 10.9 days.
The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 1,007 and the number of cases climbed to 31,332 in the country on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
The highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 9,318, followed by Gujarat at 3,744, Delhi 3,314, Madhya Pradesh 2,387, Rajasthan 2,364, Tamil Nadu 2,058 and Uttar Pradesh 2,053. The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 1,259 in Andhra Pradesh and 1,004 in Telangana.