New Delhi: India saw a decline in COVID-19 cases, but the fatalities rose in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry’s data showed on Tuesday (May 18, 2021) morning.

There were 2,63,533 new infections, alongside 4,329 coronavirus-related casualities, which notably was India’s highest single-day rise in COVID-19 deaths.

The country’s total caseload has now increased to 2,52,28,996, while the death toll has soared to 2,78,719. There are now 33,53,765 active coronavirus cases in India. Ten states account for over 75% of active cases with Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu being the worst hit by the second wave of coronavirus. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to interact with field officials from states and districts to converse about their experience in handling the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday. Many of these districts have seen a huge surge in cases and widespread infection. 

Through their interaction with the Prime Minister, the officials will share some best practices, in addition to suggestions and recommendations for continuing India’s ongoing battle against COVID-19, especially in semi-urban and rural areas.

Officials from Karnataka, Bihar, Assam, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, MP, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi will take part in the meeting.

This will come two days after Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan along with Member (Health), NITI Aayog Vinod K Paul chaired a high-level video conference meeting with all the states and UTs. The focus of the meet on Sunday was on COVID-19 Containment & Management in peri-urban, rural and tribal areas along with the Effective Clinical Management of COVID, including the black Mucor-mycosis fungi which is being recorded in a growing number of states. 

The meeting was held as the rural hinterland of the country recording a very high number of cases with increasing fatality and positivity rate, combined with low reported levels of testing.

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