68% Decline in Cases Since Peak on May 7; Need to Buy Time to Ensure Full Vaccine Coverage: Govt

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Almost 68 per cent decline in Covid-19 cases noted since the highest reported peak of cases on May 7, said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry on Friday, adding that there has been a decrease in active cases by more than 21 lakh since the peak on May 10.

Speaking at the health ministry press briefing, Agarwal said there are 377 districts reporting less than 5 per cent Covid-19 case positivity rate. Highlighting the decline in cases since the deadly second wave struck the country mid- April, the government said it has controlled the overall infection spread. “If we analyse data in comparison to highest reported peak on May 7, we are recording a 68 per cent decline in daily cases. Sixty-six per cent of new cases are coming effectively from five States and the rest are coming from 31 States/UTs, indicating that we able to control the virus locally,” he said.

However, the government said the decline would have not been possible without masks, vaccines and imposing restrictions. “If containment measures, Covid-19 appropriate behaviour or vaccination pace slackens, cases can rise again,” VK Paul, Niti Aayog Member (Health) said adding that, “We have to buy time to ensure high coverage of vaccination against COVID-19 is achieved.”

On the national vaccination drive, the government said about 43 per cent of the population above the age of 60 and 37 per cent of those above 45 years has been vaccinated against Covid-19 so far. Paul said India has overtaken the United States in terms of faster rate of vaccinating people with a single dose: India has administered 17.2 crore doses while the US inoculated 16.9 crore in the same time frame.

On the availability of Hyderbad-based Biological E’s Covid-19 vaccine, Paul said 30 crore doses has been booked. “We will try and make sure this happens on time,” he said.

Responding to a question on the indemnity from liability condition put forth by foreign vaccine-makers Pfizer and Moderna for supplying to India, Paul said, “We hope to get the foreign vaccines soon but nothing has been decided on the indemnity yet.”

Paul also lauded local manufacturers such as Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech for “great patriotic services,” adding that government is in talks with them. The comment comes after SII asked for indemnity from liability urging the government to grant the same protection alleging “rules should be the same” for both both Indian and foreign companies.

Speaking on the vaccine trials for children, Paul said apart from Covaxin, Zydus has tested the jabs on kids. “Data sharing is on with WHO for Covaxin trials. We will persuade WHO to do it faster,” he said.

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