From Our Bureau   

14TH AUGUST 2020

India witnessed a big surge with 64,553 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Friday, taking the country’s cumulative tally to 24,61,190. The death toll rose to 48,040, with 1,007 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

Successful implementation of TESTING aggressively, TRACKING comprehensively & TREATING efficiently has ensured a rising Recovery Rate, which stands at 71.17 percent today.  The total recovered COVID-19 patients have increased to 17,51,555, including 55,573 in the last 24 hours.

The recoveries exceed the active cases, numbering 6,61,595, by nearly 11 lakh (1,089,960).

Effective clinical management through a Standard of Care treatment protocol has further ensured progressive and sustained decline in the mortality among COVID patients. The Case Fatality Rate is pegged at 1.95 percent today, maintaining its path of steady decline.

As a result of ramping up its testing facilities on a sustained basis, with the aim of touching 10 lakh tests/day, India has touched the highest number of tests in a single day, so far. A record high of 8,48,728 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. This has taken the cumulative tests to 2,76,94,416.

WHO, in its Guidance Note on “Public Health Criteria to Adjust Public Health and Social Measures in the Context of COVID-19,” has advised comprehensive surveillance for suspected cases.  WHO has advised that a country needs 140 tests per day per million population.

While the national average is 603 tests/day/million population, with focussed efforts of the Central Government and effective implementation by the States/Union Territories, 34 of them have exceeded this figure. States/UTs are being advised to scale up the testing on a commensurate level with the prevailing positivity.

A key component for the successful implementation of the “Test, Track and Treat” strategy has been the continuously expanding network of diagnostic labs across the country. The network as on today consists of 1,451 labs with 958 in the government sector and 493 private labs.

The different types of labs include: Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs: 749 (Govt: 447 + Private 302), TrueNat based testing labs: 586 (Govt: 478 + Private: 108) and CBNAAT based testing labs: 116 (Govt: 33 + Private: 83).

Central Government distributes 1.28 Crore PPEs to States/UTs

The Central Government has been leading the graded, pre-emptive, proactive and collaborative response and management of COVID-19, along with the State/UT governments. As part of its continued efforts towards progressively augmenting and strengthening the medical infrastructure across the country, various policy decisions have been taken on a regular basis.

At the start of the pandemic, there was a global shortage experienced for all kinds of medical equipment, including N95 masks, PPE kits, ventilators etc. Most of the products were not being manufactured in the country in the beginning as many of the necessary components were to be procured from other countries. The rising global demand due to the pandemic resulted in their scarce availability in the foreign markets.

Turning the pandemic into an opportunity to develop its domestic market for production of medical equipment, with the combined efforts of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Pharmaceuticals, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and others, India has hugely ramped up its own manufacturing capacity.

In view of the strengthened domestic production capacity and having met the domestic requirements for PPEs, the revised notification of the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in July 2020 (Notification No. 16/2015-20, dated 29th June 2020) permitted export of PPEs. As a result of this relaxation, in the month of July itself, India exported 23 lakh PPEs to five countries. These include USA, UK, UAE, Senegal and Slovania. This has substantially aided India to position itself in the global export market of PPEs.

The “Make in India’ spirit embedded in the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan has resulted in providing resilience and self-sufficiency to the country for various medical equipment including PPEs.

While the Central Government is supplying PPEs, N95 masks, ventilators etc., to the State/UT Governments, States are also procuring these items directly. Between March to August 2020, they have procured 1.40 crore indigenous PPEs from their own budgetary resources. During the same period, the Central Government has distributed 1.28 crore PPEs to States / UTs / Central Institutions, free of cost. (eom)

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