Authorities in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore announced on Friday they have engaged about 2,000 additional personnel in identifying patients of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the city, which is one of the major hotspots in the country.

Indore is one of 13 worst-affected cities, which account for 72% of the 165,000 cases across the country till Thursday. The other cities include Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur.

“We are carrying survey, sampling and tracing work more aggressively now while engaging more than 2,000 personnel from health and other departments in this work for quite some time. Thus, we have more than 5,000 personnel now engaged in this task,” Dr Pravin Jadia, chief medical and health officer, said.

Dr Jadia said there was no change in the strategy of the department in identifying and treating Covid-19 patients but the number of personnel involved in the survey, sampling and contact tracing was increased considerably.

“We have 2,000 teams just for survey only. We have the situation under control as most of the patients identified are those who were identified during the survey and screening and were already quarantined. Also, about 50% of the patients have already recovered and been discharged from hospitals,” he added.

Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba interacted with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other officials on Thursday to assess the situation and how to control it, government officials said.

Indore registered 3,260 Covid-19 cases till Thursday evening that accounts for 43% of the infections in Madhya Pradesh that stood at 7,453 as on Thursday evening, according to the state government’s health department’s bulletin.

Indore has witnessed the death of 122 patients that accounts for 38% of all the fatalities reported from the state that stood at 321 till Thursday evening.

In the past 10 days, the city has reported about 700 cases or 70 cases daily or about three patients every hour on an average despite the oft-repeated claims of the state government and the district administration that the situation in the commercial capital of the state is under control.

As the state government and Indore administration are battling with the respiratory disease in Indore, Ujjain, Dhar, Burhanpur, Khargone, Khandwa, Neemuch, Dewas, Mandsaur and Neemuch in Malwa-Nimad region, Sagar in Bundelkhand region, Gwalior and Morena in Gwalior-Chambal region and Raisen in the central region are emerging as Covid-19 hotspots.

Bhopal in the central region continues to remain a hotspot with 1,373 cases and 51 deaths.

In Sagar, the divisional headquarters in Bundelkhand, 24 new cases were identified in the past 24 hours to take the tally of patients to 165 out of whom 7 have died so far.

“We have been requesting the state government right from day one to enhance the number of sampling and tests, upgrade the public health system to have a lab for testing in every district, make a better quarantine plan, chalk out a separate plan for every district and containment zone and let the doctors and experts decide how to contain the disease and treat the patients. But unfortunately, the government’s entire plan and approach is bureaucrats centric,” public health expert Amulya Nidhi said.

Mohd Suleman, the additional chief secretary of the health department, could not be reached for his comments.

“We need to understand that the state government is doing its best in controlling the situation and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has gone on record saying that more and more patients are recovering in the state that suggests an improvement in the scenario,” state BJP leader Dr Hitesh Bajpai said.