From Our Bureau                                                          


India witnessed a big surge with 62,538 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Friday, the highest for a single day so far, taking the country’s cumulative tally to 20,27,074. The death toll rose to 41,585, with 886 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, India continues on the path of COVID-19 management boosted by two significant achievements: continuously rising recovery rate among the COVID-19 patients and Case Fatality Rate that has remained much below the global average.

While the recovery rate is at a record high of 68 percent, the CFR has touched a new low of 2.05 percent, thus ensuring low mortality among COVID-19 patients. These two in tandem have enabled a higher and rising difference (more than 7.7 lakhs) between the number of recovered patients and active cases in India.

The total recoveries have jumped to 13,78,105 with recovery of 49,769 patients in the last 24 hours. As on today, 6,07,384 active cases were under medical supervision.

Ramped up hospital infrastructure and emphasis on efficient treatment of hospitalized patients through the Standard of Care incorporated in the Clinical Treatment Protocol issued by the Central Government, have effectively ensured improvement in the recovery rate. The average daily recovered cases (7 day moving average) have increased from around 26,000 cases to 44,000 cases in the last two weeks.

Sustained efforts by the Central Government and State/Union Territory governments through focused and coordinated containment, widespread testing combined with supervised isolation and effective treatment have together ensured the decline in the percentage of active cases and rise of the percentage of recovered cases. There has been significant and sustained increase in the number of daily new recovered cases too.

For the 4th successive day, India tests more than 6 lakh samples in 24 hours

In a testament to the consistent and coordinated efforts of the Central Government and the State/UT governments, India continues its track record of testing more than 6 lakh COVID-19 samples each day for the fourth successive day. Expanded diagnostic lab network and facilitation for easy testing across the country have given a boost, and with 6,39,042 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, India has done 2,27,88,393 tests presently. The Tests Per Million (TPM) has seen a sharp increase to 16,513.

The 7-day moving average in daily tests conducted has significantly improved from around 2.69 lakh on 14th July 2020 to around 5.66 lakh on 6th August 2020. While the cumulative testing rose from 1.2 crore on 14th July 2020 to 2.2 crore on 6th August 2020, the positivity rate has seen a rise from 7.5 percent to 8.87 percent in the same period.

Although higher number of tests will push the positivity rate initially, but as the Delhi experience has amply shown, it will eventually lower when combined with other measures such as prompt isolation, tracking and timely clinical management.

The graded and evolving response has resulted in a testing strategy that steadily widened the testing net in the country. To keep up with this strategy, the testing lab network in the country is continuously strengthened which as on today consists of 1,383 labs in the country– 931 labs in the government sector and 452 private labs. These include: Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs: 701 (Govt: 423 + Private: 278),

TrueNat based testing labs: 573 (Govt: 476 + Private: 97) and CBNAAT based testing labs: 109 (Govt: 32 + Private: 77).

Health Ministry engages with Districts reporting Higher COVID-19 Mortality

Those districts that are reporting COVID-19 mortality higher than the national and States’ average are a cause of concern. As part of Centre-State coordinated strategy for effective containment and management of the COVID-19 pandemic, a high level virtual meeting was chaired by Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary, to engage with the district and State administration to analyse the factors driving the high COVID-19 mortality in these districts and devise ways and means to reduce the mortality.

These 16 districts in four States include Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat; Belagavi, Bengaluru Urban, Kalaburagi and Udupi in Karnataka; Chennai, Kanchipuram, Ranipet, Theni, Thiruvallur, Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin and Virudhnagar in Tamil Nadu; Hyderabad and Medchal Malkajgiri in Telangana. Apart from the higher case mortality, these districts account for 17 percent of India’s active cases, high daily new cases, low tests per million, and high confirmation percentage.

Principal Secretary (Health) and MD (NHM) from the four States along with district surveillance officers, district collectors, commissioners of the municipal corporation, Chief Medical Officers, and Medical Superintendents of Medical Colleges participated in the meeting.

The districts were advised to ensure that the advisories, guidelines and clinical treatment protocols issued by the Health Ministry are adopted and effectively implemented to reduce the mortality among COVID-19 patients and other preventable deaths among all sections of the people, particularly those with co-morbidities, pregnant women, the elderly and children.

Following the Continuum of Care approach, as sincere containment and surveillance efforts have a bearing on the case mortality, States were advised to ensure optimum capacity utilization of testing labs, increase tests per million population and reduce confirmation percentage, in addition to ensuring timely availability of ambulances with target zero refusal.

States were also advised to analyze availability and need for projected beds and oxygen, and plan in a timely manner. It was pointed out to them to that it was critical to ensure good infection prevention and control practices to control infection in the healthcare workers. (eom)

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