New Delhi: Swine flu has claimed 51 more lives raising the death toll to 926 and the number of people affected by the disease crossed the 16,000 mark even as the Government said today there is no need to panic. The concern over the spiralling swine flu cases was also reflected with High Courts acting on Public Interest Litigations(PILs) on the threat posed by the disease. Delhi High Court sought the Centre and city government's response within a week on the steps it has taken to deal with swine flu while the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court directed Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary, Medical (Health) of Uttar Pradesh to make medicines and special masks available within two to three days. The Arunachal Pradesh government sounded a "red alert" and has temporarily prohibited sale of pork as a precautionary measure. According to collated data from the Health Ministry till yesterday, the total number of deaths due to the disease has reached 926 while the number of affected persons in various states stood at 16,235.
The Health Ministry data yesterday had showed that 875 people had died due to the disease while 15,413 people had been affected with the H1N1 virus. Assuring that the government was taking a serious view of the issue, Health Minister J P Nadda warned people to be careful but said there was no need for panic as medicines and facilities to tackle the disease were in place. "No stone has been left unturned as far as seriousness is concerned and all efforts have been made. I assure the House and the members that there is no shortage of medicines. There is no need to panic, but we have to be alert," Nadda said while responding to members' concerns in the Rajya Sabha, Upping the ante against the government over the rising death toll due to swine flu, Congress accused it of approaching the issue in a "casual manner".
"Health Min statement on SwineFlu confirms our fear that government is taking a casual approach on a issue that qualifies as a public health crisis," tweeted Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The maximum toll was reported from Rajasthan, which has been the worst affected state, with 234 deaths till February 24 while the number of affected persons has risen to 4,884.
In Gujarat, the death toll due to the disease has reached 231 while 3527 people have been affected.
As many as 127 people have perished due to the disease in Madhya Pradesh while the number of affected persons in the state stood at 716.
In Maharashtra, the death toll has risen to 112 while the number of affected persons was 1,221. Telangana, Karnataka and Punjab too accounted for 54, 39 and 38 deaths respectively.
In Delhi, the Health Ministry said that although the number of deaths is eight, there has been a rise in the number of affected persons which currently stood at 2,456.