No new COVID-19 deaths in 7 states, UTs in 3 weeks: Govt

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New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI) Seven states and Union Territories have reported no new COVID-19 death in the last three weeks, while 15 have not registered any such fatality in a day, the Centre said on Tuesday, underlining that consistent gains were being made in terms of declining new cases and casualties.

It, however, noted that the last national serosurvey findings have shown that over 70 per cent of the population is still susceptible to the disease and stressed that herd immunity should be achieved by vaccination.

Seven states and UTs -- the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mizoram, Nagaland and the Lakshadweep -- have reported no new COVID-19 death in the last three weeks, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference.

From the pandemic point of view, consistent gains are being made in terms of declining new COVID-19 cases and new deaths, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said. 'The current situation of the pandemic is satisfactory. We are very happy to note that COVID-19 deaths reported are below 100 consistently. Also, no death has been reported in Delhi for the last 24 hours. This is a remarkable feat,' he said.

The number of healthcare and frontline workers vaccinated against COVID19 has reached 65.28 lakh on the 25th day of the countrywide vaccination drive.

Highlighting the significance of vaccination in overcoming the pandemic, Paul said, 'Herd immunity should be gained by vaccination and not through infection.' He urged all frontline workers to come forward and get vaccinated.

'Systematic scientific approach is being exercised for the adverse effects being experienced by vaccine recipients. Of the 6.3 million people vaccinated, 4,333 AEFI cases have been reported. This means, one in 1,400 had adverse effects. Vaccine hesitancy has also gone with 63 million people immunised so far,' Paul said.

Paul said India is fortunate to have two vaccines and six to seven in the pipeline.

Union Health Secretary Bhushan said India is the fastest country to reach administration of 60 lakh doses of vaccine, doing so in 24 days. Some states have performed well, while others need to improve their vaccination coverage, he said.

'Twelve states and UTs have vaccinated more than 65 per cent of registered healthcare workers. These are Bihar (78.1 per cent), Tripura (77.1 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (76 per cent), Uttarakhand (73.7 per cent), Odisha (72.4 per cent), Mizoram (69.9 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (68.7 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (68 per cent), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (67.9 per cent), Rajasthan (67.2 per cent), Kerala (66.9 per cent) and Lakshadweep (66.7 per cent).' On the other hand, 11 states and UTs that have vaccinated less than 40 per cent of healthcare workers, he added.

These are Puducherry (15.4 per cent), Manipur (21.3 per cent), Nagaland (21.5 per cent), Meghalaya (24.3 per cent), Chandigarh (28.7 per cent), Punjab (34.1 per cent), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (34. 5 per cent), Ladakh (35.8 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (37.5 per cent) and Delhi (38 per cent).

'We are in touch with these states and telling them to increase coverage,' Bhushan said, adding the Centre has advised states and UTs that all frontline workers must be scheduled for vaccination at least once by March 1.

'We have further advised states and UTs that all frontline workers must be given opportunity of mop-up rounds by March 6. Those frontline workers who do not get vaccinated in scheduled vaccination rounds or in mop-up rounds will have to be relegated to the age-specific vaccination rounds,' he said.

Bhushan said a meeting of National AEFI Committee was held on February 5 where eight cases of adverse effects following immunisation (AEFI) following COVID-19 vaccinations were discussed.

'Of these eight cases, causality assessment of five (two deaths and three hospitalized) was conducted. All three hospitalised cases were discharged. Two have been diagnosed as anaphylaxis; classified as vaccine-product related reaction (known and expected reactions following vaccinations) and one as syncope: classified as immunization triggered stress response (anxiety reaction),' he said.

The deaths were found not related to vaccination, Bhushan said, adding histopathology and chemical analysis report in three deaths are awaited from the states.

'We are making a standard template through which we will put information in public domain,' he said. Bhushan further informed reporters that Kerala contributed 45.72 per cent and Maharashtra 25.06 per cent of the active cases in the country.

There has been a gradual decline in the number of active cases in Maharashtra within the last one month, even though its contribution to active cases in the country was the second largest, he said.

'But, the scenario is quite the opposite in case of Kerala where the number of active cases has gone up in the last one month.' While 1.08 crore COVID-19 cases have been reported till date, there has been 1.55 lakh deaths, Bhushan said. The number of COVID-19 tests conducted has touched 20.2 crore or 146,802 per million. The cumulative positivity rate has declined to 5.35 per cent.

Bhushan said 33 states and UTs have less than 5,000 active cases. Also, there has been 55 per cent decline in average daily deaths in last 5 weeks. The average daily deaths reported last week was 96. 'India reported only 0.5 per cent new deaths per million in the last seven days. This apart, there were 58 new cases per million populations reported in the last seven days,' he said. PTI PLB/UZM NSD NSD