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Decline in COVID-19 active caseload to 27 lakhs from 37 lakhs in a few weeks “a positive sign,” says Harsh Vardhan
New Delhi, May 25, 2021
The COVID-19 active caseload declining to 27 lakh from 37 lakh within a few weeks is a positive sign, Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday.
Chairing the 27th meeting of the High-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 by videoconference, Dr Harsh Vardhan at the outset, gave a snapshot of India’s efforts to contain the pandemic. “Today is the 11th day in succession where our number of recoveries is more than the number of new cases. This is also the eighth day in succession where we are having less than three lakh daily new cases. This is a positive sign. Right now, our active cases in the country are 27 lakhs. A couple of weeks back, we had over 37 lakh active cases.”
Expressing his grief that each death is tragic, he cautioned on the high number of fatalities being reported. Referring to the vaccines and clinical intervention, he said, “We have already given 19.6 crore doses to our countrymen. Over 60 lakh doses are still with the states and further 21 lakh doses are in the pipeline.”
The Centre has already sent over 70 lakh Remdesivir vials and 45,735 ventilators to states/UTs. On genome sequencing, the Union Health Minister Informed the meeting that 25,739 samples have been sequenced and variant B.1.617 has been found in 5,261 samples, making it the most common mutation detected till now. The states have been requested to send samples regularly for analysis.
Dr Harsh Vardhan expressed appreciation for the coordination between the Centre and the States in flagging emerging cases of Mucormycosis, popularly called "Black Fungus". So far, 5424 cases have been reported from 18 states with the most number of cases being reported from Gujarat and Maharashtra. Out of these, 4556 cases have a history of COVID-19 infection while the rest are non-COVID cases. About 55% of the affected had diabetes.
“Nine lakh vials of Amphotericin-B are being imported by the Central Government for treatment of Black Fungus. Of this, 50,000 vials have been received and around 3 lakh vials will be available in the next 7 days,” he added.
The Minister also highlighted the implementation of the SoPs of the Union Government on COVID management in peri-urban/urban/tribal areas. These are being actively pursued and monitored regularly by the Health Ministry in the State review meetings.
The meeting was attended by Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation and Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Chemical & Fertilizers, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare and Dr Vinod K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog joined digitally.
Choubey stressed the need to streamline the availability of 2-DG drug by DRDO besides increasing the affordability and availability of home testing kits. A protocol should be in place to streamline the supply of mobile/home testing kits.
Dr Sujeet K Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC, )presented a detailed report on the trajectory of COVID in the States and UTs. He cautioned that at 7.86%, the COVID growth rate was a matter of concern. He showed figures related to the number of cases, the number of deaths, growth rate and how they compared to the rest of the world.
He presented a granular analysis of the trajectory of the pandemic in each state pointing out critical parameters like positivity, RAT & RT-PCR per cent breakup, the concentration of cases in particular districts and other trends like fatality and hospitalization status of affected states.
Till May 23, India has conducted 32,86,07,937 tests with 2,38,121 Tests Per Million (TPM) and an overall positivity rate of 8.07%. More than half (53.74%) of total tests conducted are RT-PCR.
S Aparna, Secretary (Pharmaceuticals) detailed the achievements of the dedicated cell that has been created to coordinate the production and allocation of drugs in demand to treat COVID-19. The cell has monitored the augmentation of production, domestic procurement and allocation of drugs like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Amphotericin-B.
Speaking on the increased demand for drugs to treat Mucormycosis, she said five more manufacturers have been given the license to manufacture Amphotericin B. Lateral manufacturers have also been urged to ramp up the production of APIs to prevent shortages. She also suggested IEC campaigns for judicious use of these drugs. The Pharma department was in touch with DGHS and ICMR on the requirements of COVID drugs for pediatric patients.