From Our Bureau

16TH JULY 2020            

India witnessed a big surge with 32,695 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Thursday, the highest for a single day, taking the country’s cumulative tally to 9,68,876. The death toll rose to 24,915, with 606 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

A graded, pre-emptive and pro-active approach under the ‘Whole of Government” strategy has been adopted by Government of India along with the States/Union Territories for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19. The collective efforts are regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level.

The targeted measures have contributed to a steady decline in the number of active cases. As on date, the actual caseload of COVID-19 patients in the country is only 3,31,146. These contribute to a little more than a third (34.18 percent) of total cases detected so far.

Actual case load of COVID-19 has remained limited and manageable in the country due to proactive measures of containment including house-to-house survey, perimeter control activities, timely contact tracing and surveillance of containment zones, aggressive testing and timely diagnosis, and effective clinical management of the moderate and severe cases through a well implemented standard of care protocol substantially increasing their chances of recovery.

The joint efforts by the Central government and the States/UTs of increasing the testing capacity, ramping up the health infrastructure, prioritizing surveillance in the SARI/ILI cases, and ensuring mapping of the aged population and people with co-morbidities have led to a continuous improvement in the recovery rates seen across India.

From mid-June 2020 after crossing the 50 percent mark in Recovery Rate, there is a steady increase in the recovered patients and decline in the number of active cases. Almost 63.25 percent of the COVID-19 patients have recovered, so far. Simultaneously, there has been a steady dip in the active cases, from around 45 percent in mid-June 2020 to around 34.18 percent, as of now.

A total of 20,783 people have been cured of COVID in the last 24 hours, pushing the total number of recovered cases among COVID-19 patients to 6,12,815. The gap between recovered patients and active COVID-19 cases has further increased to 2,81,669.

The hospital infrastructure to treat COVID-19 consists of 1,381 Dedicated COVID Hospitals in  Category I, 3,100 Dedicated COVID Healthcare Centres in Category II and 10,367 COVID Care Centres in Category III. They together have a capacity of 46,666 ICU beds.

The collaborative strategy among Central Government and the States has also ensured that the growth of COVID cases is restricted to pockets in the country. Only two states, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, constitute 48.15 percent of country’s total active case load. Of the total 36 states and UTs, only 10 States constitute 84.62 percent of the total active case load. The Central Government continues to handhold these States in matters of containment and effective clinical management of the affected persons.

As per the “Test, Trace, Treat” strategy, the Central Government is driving enhanced testing initiatives in States/UTs. As a result, there has been a steady rise in the number of testing labs across the country. The increased testing is in accordance with the ICMR Guidelines and has helped in early detection of cases. 

The testing includes the RT-PCR which is the golden standard of the COVID-19 testing. This has been augmented with Rapid Antigen Point of Care (POC) Testing that gives results within half-hour. This has resulted in ramped up testing in the Containment and Buffer Zones. This has significantly helped in controlling the spread of the infection.

All registered medical practitioners can now recommend testing. This coupled with the facilitation of widespread testing by States/UTs through the RT-PCR, TrueNat and CBNAAT lab network has contributed to a surge in the number of samples tested.

As many as 3,26,826 samples have been tested in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of 1,27,39,490 samples tested translated to a figure of 9231.5 testing per million for India.

The testing lab network in the country is further strengthened with 1,234 labs in the country- 874 labs in the government sector and 360 private labs. These include Real-Time RT PCR-based testing labs: 635 (Govt: 392 + Private: 243), TrueNat-based testing labs: 499 (Govt: 447 + Private: 52) and CBNAAT-based testing labs: 100 (Govt: 35 + Private: 65).

Meanwhile, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the Rajkumari Amrit Kaur OPD Block of AIIMS, New Delhi. He expressed happiness that the new OPD is named after Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, renowned freedom fighter and the first Health Minister of the country.

Elaborating on the country’s collective efforts against COVID-19, he pointed out that “Gradually we are moving in the direction to win the battle against the pandemic. Less than 2 percent of the COVID affected patients are admitted in ICUs. Our lab network has been strengthened; we have had an exponential growth in the number of labs which have grown from one in Jan 2020 to 1234 today.”

“As on date, we have tested more than 3.26 lakh samples per day and this capacity will be further enhanced to 10 lakh tests per day in the coming 12 weeks. This is matched with progressively increasing recovered cases and the steadily increasing gap between recovered and active cases (2,81,669). This signifies that the measures taken as part of the graded, pre-emptive and pro-active approach under the ‘Whole of Government’ strategy is showing positive results,” he added. (eom)

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