From Our Bureau                       

9th MAY 2020

A total of 59,662 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country so far and the death toll mounted to 1,981 on Saturday. So far, 17,847 people have been cured. In the last 24 hours, 3,320 new confirmed cases were reported and 1,307 patients were cured.  The fatality rate is 3.3 percent and recovery rate is 29.9 percent.

The total number of active cases now is 39,834. There are 2.41 percent present active COVID-19 patients in the ICU, 0.38 percent on ventilators and 1.88 percent on oxygen support.

The testing capacity has increased in the country and it is 95,000 tests per day with 332 Government laboratories and 121 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 15,25,631 tests have been done so far for COVID-19.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, held a high level meeting today with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim to review the status of COVID-19 in the north-eastern States along with the measures being taken for its containment and management.

He appreciated the dedication of all the States in combating COVID-19 in the country. “It is a huge relief and very encouraging to see green zones in most North Eastern States. As of date, only Assam and Tripura have active COVID-19 cases; the other States are all in the green zone. Let us focus and work together by converting the orange zones to green zones and maintain the protective status across the States,” he stated.

During the detailed interaction with the NE States, the officials highlighted various issues related to testing facilities, health infrastructure, surveillance, contact tracing etc., and also shared their best practices. The minister recalled various measures taken by the Centre to combat COVID-19 so far. 

“Political commitment at the highest levels of the Government, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is leading the government’s response against Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). India is prepared and fighting with the pandemic through its various timely measures and sturdy systems of surveillance for Novel Coronavirus,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan said.

To maintain the positive status of COVID-19 management in the North East, Dr. Harsh Vardhan advised the States to ensure that the returning migrant labourers, students and those returning from abroad should be screened and quarantined as per the guidelines and protocol laid down by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of External Affairs. He also stated that the guidelines for discharging patients have also been revised and need to be followed by all the States.

The States were informed that funds have been allocated by Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (Ministry of DoNER) for strengthening of the health infrastructure, and States need to submit their proposals for availing of funds under this fund.

For the States that have international borders, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that these States need to take adequate measures at the border areas to prevent exposure by conducting screening of all individual entering the State at entry points and following quarantine protocol as per the guidelines.

 States were also advised to ensure that payments, salaries and incentives were paid to the healthcare staff, paramedics and other healthcare workers, for which States were also advised to ensure that the NHM funds were transferred to the Health Department.

States were also advised to keep adequate stock of essential medicines and explore home delivery by engaging volunteers for the purpose.

In view of the larger prevalence of non-smoking tobacco usage in some of the States, Dr Harsh Vardhan advised the States to ensure that concrete actions were taken for prohibiting their wide usage and for prohibiting spitting in public places which shall help in preventing spread of COVID-19. Strong reforms are needed in this direction, he said and appreciated the effort of States that have banned the use of chewing tobacco and imposition of fine for  spitting in public places. (eom)

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