Covid Curbs Brought Down Cases in Last 15 Days, Restraint Needed Ahead Too: Govt

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The Centre on Saturday said there has been a decline in overall Covid-19 cases in the last 15 days in the country due to the strict restrictions imposed on the movement of people and other social or economic activities. It also urged people to follow the Covid-19 protocols even when the states open up the day-to-day activities. While addressing a press conference, the ministry said six states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi have reported a high number of deaths due to the infection. The overall Covid-19 recovery rate has improved to 87.76 per cent.

“We must follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. Even when things will reopen, we have to be careful. Pandemic is stabilising in a major part of the country. The positivity rate is going down and active cases are also going down. Rural areas have been affected in the second wave,” said Niti Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul during the briefing.

Speaking on Covid-19 infection detected in children, he said, “Covid-19 infections occur in children, but fewer deaths have been reported. Only 3-4 per cent of children require hospitalisation.”

Briefing about the pandemic situation across the country, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry said, “The recovery rate is at 87.76 per cent. 22 states have reported more recoveries than daily Covid-19 cases. There has been a decrease in overall cases for the past 15 days. There are only seven states that are reporting more than 10,000 cases and six states with 5,000-10,000 cases. Six states are reporting a high number of deaths. These are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi. Overall positivity rate is declining. It is at 12.45 per cent. Increase in Covid-19 cases reported in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. There are more than 93 districts where declining case positivity is being noted.”

Further speaking on the unavailability of Amphotericin B, the drug used to treat black fungus or mucormycosis patients, in the markets, Agarwal said the availability and supply of this anti-fungal medicine are being increased. “Amphotericin B was available in the country in limited supply. Its availability and supply are now being increased. Ministry of Pharma is coordinating with the Ministry of Health for providing license to five additional manufacturers. The existing manufacturers are working towards increasing their capacity and production capacity,” he said.

According to the government, action is being taken to ramp up the supply and availability of Amphotericin-B anti-fungal drug. The states have been advised to establish/activate the Hospital Infection Control Committee to manage fungal infections, take transmission-based precautions with a focus on droplets, airborne and contacts to protect healthcare workers and ensure patient safety, ensure effective Biomedical Waste Management, enhance IPC practices in ICU, labs etc. with focus on patients who are immuno-compromised, on steroid treatment and with comorbidities, and countrywide ‘AYUSH Covid-19 Counselling Helpline’ operationalised to provide guidance on AYUSH-based post Covid-19 rehabilitation and management.

‘VACCINE PASSPORT’

On being asked about ‘vaccine passport‘, Agarwal said, “So far there is no consensus at level of WHO over this. Discussion still being done if vaccinated people will be allowed. As of now, as per WHO guidelines and guidelines by countries, people with negative Covid-19 test report being allowed. Relevant action will be taken when we reach the level when a consensus at the world level is reached, over vaccine.”

A ‘vaccine passport’ is being considered as a documentation proving that a person has been vaccinated against the Covid-19 infection.

The daily rise in Covid-19 cases in India remained below the 3 lakh-mark for the sixth consecutive day, with 2.57 lakh new coronavirus cases recorded in a single day, the Union health ministry said on Saturday. With the fresh cases, India’s tally of Covid-19 cases climbed to 2,62,89,290. The death toll due to the disease rose to 2,95,525 with 4,194 fresh fatalities, the ministry data showed.

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