New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) India has overtaken the US in terms of number of people who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the government on Friday said and noted that the vaccination campaign will be further intensified in the coming days.
Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said 43 per cent of the 60 plus population has been covered with at least one dose and over 45 years, 37 per cent of the population has been covered.
Citing the ourworldindata updated on Thursday, India, in terms of number of people who received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, has administered 17.2 crore doses and the US which was leading the pack is 16.9 crore.
'We have overtaken the US in terms of number of people who have received at least a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It is reassuring that we are steadily improving and intensifying the vaccine campaign and it will be intensified so much more in the days to come,' Paul said.
'I want to appeal to enhance the pace of their vaccination and I want to appeal to senior citizens to get themselves vaccinated. Let us hope to make it to 50 per cent in the coming few weeks,' he said.
Paul said while the second wave is declining in the context of global data it may be worth mentioning that COVID cases per 10 lakh population in India are 20,519, while the world average is still higher at 22,181.
'So even with the second wave the overall burden experienced, adjusted for population, is relatively modest. COVID deaths per million in India are 245 per million population, while the world average is 477,' he said.
Noting that this situation was achieved due to strong action by the people of India, states, UTs, municipalities, districts, villages, panchayats and families, Paul asked the people to maintain discipline even when the restrictions are lifted.
'What is working is we are not back to wearing masks more diligently, what is working is now the testing is more generous. What is working is we have imposed restrictions in many many districts and that is making it difficult for the virus to reach other people.
'It is not the wish of the virus to forget us but we are making it difficult for the virus to travel. The connotation is when we reverse this process the situation can again become unacceptable and that is something we need to keep in mind,' he said.
He said if containment measures, COVID-19 appropriate behaviour or vaccination pace slackens, the situation can again go into a difficult phase.
'...if we suddenly get into the same behaviour what we were doing in January and February as a society it (peak) will come back again in a certain way,' he said.
Paul underscored the need to buy time to achieve high vaccination coverage.
'We have to buy time and we have to buy time particularly to ensure that we achieve a high coverage of our vaccination and that is the duration of intense discipline that we want to exercise.
'So remember the journey is still tough and we have to be responsible. This situation is a result of efforts and these efforts need to be continued in a calibrated way for us to open up but not to allow the virus to overtake us,' he said.
Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said there has been a continuous decline in the daily new COVID-19 cases.
'Almost 68 per cent decline in Covid cases has been noted since the highest reported peak of cases on May 7,' he said.
He said there has been a decrease in active cases by more than 21 lakh since the peak of active cases on May 10. Registering a decline of 56 per cent after around 50 days, active cases have been recorded at 16,35,993.
'The number of districts reporting more than 100 average daily new COVID-19 cases have decreased from 538 (between April 29 to May 5) to 257 (between May 27 to June 2),' he said.
Agarwal said there has been a steady decline in weekly case positivity even while testing increased multifold since the last four weeks.
'The number of districts reporting less than 5 per cent case positivity has increased from 92 (on week ending May 7) to 377 (on week ending June 3),' he said. PTI PLB/UZM AAR AAR