New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) India was able to fight the COVID-19 pandemic much better than other countries because of its 'whole of government' and 'whole of society' approach, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said.
Addressing the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) Wales at their annual conference vial video link on Saturday night, he highlighted that India's COVID-19 recovery rate was 97 per cent while its 1.44 per cent fatality rate was the lowest in the world.
'COVID-19 pandemic broke out in December 2019 and spread around the world. With the 'whole of government' and 'whole of society' approach, we were able to fight the pandemic much better than other countries,' Vardhan was quoted as saying a statement by the health ministry.
India was the first country to respond within an hour when WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Planning started on January 8 and guidelines were drafted by 17th. Massive surveillance started on the same day with meticulous contact tracing unparalleled in the world, he claimed.
'India was also one of the first countries to isolate the virus. With a focus on health infrastructure, we increased laboratory facilities to 2,362 now from the sole lab at NIV, made provisions for more than 19 lakh beds at more than 15,000 facilities. As many as 12,000 quarantine centres were also built for easy isolation.
'The country took the bold decision to become Aatmanirbar (self-reliant) by ramping up PPE manufacturing to 5 lakh kits daily. We also created bio-repositories while genome sequencing started six months ago,' the Union health minister said.
On March 22 last year, people paid heed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a 'Janata Curfew' to protect the entire society, their family and the entire society from the virus, Vardhan stated.
'This 'whole of society' approach has made a crucial difference and led to the highest recovery rate in the world,' he said.
Emphasising how each and every component of the government acted in sync to control the pandemic, Vardhan noted, 'With all the efforts, it was important to teach COVID-appropriate behaviour, for which our PM personally addressed nation eight to nine times.' 'Caller tune was set to inform COVID-appropriate behaviour; the AarogyaSetu app gave warning of nearby affected people; around 160 million people downloaded it.' Vardhan expressed his deep gratitude to the scientific community for their contribution in developing and testing COVID-19 vaccine.
'All our scientist rose to the occasion and engaged tirelessly in developing vaccine. A digital platform Co-WIN was developed to support the vaccination activity with real-time information ensuring that the vaccine is given to the right people at the right time.
'Among the many vaccines under various phases of development in the country, two were granted emergency use authorization in January 2021,' he was quoted as saying in the statement.
India being one of the largest global suppliers of vaccines -- producing nearly 60 per cent of the world's vaccines -- successfully ramped up production to cover its healthcare workers and simultaneously export the vaccine globally, Vardhan said, adding the country will soon start vaccinating the frontline workers as well. PTI PLB NSD NSD