India witnessing sustained decline in number of COVID cases: Govt

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New Delhi, Feb 5 (PTI) A total of 1,07,77,284 COVID-19 cases have been reported in India till February 3, the second highest in absolute numbers after the US, the government told Lok Sabha on Friday, underlining that the country is witnessing a sustained decline in the number of infections reported daily since the reported peak in mid-September 2020.

'Although high in absolute terms, India has managed to restrict the morbidity to 7,801 cases per million population, which is far lower than other similarly affected countries,' Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey said in a written reply.

Six states - Kerala (43.37 per cent), Maharashtra (26.76), Karnataka (3.71), West Bengal (3.31), Uttar Pradesh (3.13) and Tamil Nadu (2.82 per cent) --account for 83 per cent of all active cases in the country.

'Since the reported peak in mid-September 2020, India is witnessing a sustained decline in the number of cases reported daily. However, resurgence of COVID-19 cases has been reported from a number of countries in Europe and Americas, therefore continuous monitoring of the evolving situation is being undertaken at all level, to pick up on the earliest signs of resurgence and issue necessary existing SOPs/Advisories accordingly,' the minister said.

Further, the government continues to focus on intensive risk communication to limit viral transmission by advocating adherence to COVID appropriate behaviours (wearing of mask/face covers; physical distancing and hand hygiene), he said. Additionally, the government has rolled out COVID-19 vaccination since January 16 and till February 3, 41,38,918 people have been inoculated.

Responding to a question on the number of people found positive with the new UK strain of COVID-19 in the country and the effect of new Covishield and Covaxin vaccines therefor, Choubey said a surveillance system has been put in place to identify this variant among those with travel history to the UK from December 23.

Till February 1, 147 travelers and their contacts have been tested positive for UK strain in India. 'At present there is no evidence to suggest that current vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) will fail to protect against COVID-19 variants reported from the United Kingdom,' Choubey underscored. PTI PLB ZMN