From Our Bureau

25TH JULY 2020

India witnessed a big surge with 48,916 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Saturday, taking the country’s cumulative tally to 13,36,861. The death toll rose to 31,358, with 757 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

As many as 32,223 COVID patients have recovered in the last 24 hours. The cumulative  number of recovered cases has reached 8,49,432 today. The recovery rate has achieved another high of 63.54 percent. The gap between recovered patients and active COVID-19 cases has further increased to 3,93,361. There were 4,56,071 active cases under medical supervision in the country today.

For the first time, a record number of  4,20,000 COVID tests have been conducted in a single day. This elevated number comes on the heels of 3,50,000 tests being done every day consistently over the last one week. With 4,20,898 samples tested in the last 24 hours, the Tests Per Million (TPM) has further increased to 11,485 and cumulative testing to 1,58,49,068. Both continue to maintain the upward trend.

A strong factor contributing to this achievement is the persistent increase in the number of labs from merely one in January 2020 to 1,301 today, inclusive of 902 government labs and 399 in the private sector. Revised facilitative guidelines of testing by ICMR and all-round efforts by the governments have also aided in widespread testing.

The Central Government has advised all State/Union Territory governments to keep up the strategy of “Test, Track and Treat” with aggressive testing which may lead to higher number of daily positive cases initially but would eventually achieve a decline as has been demonstrated after Central Government’s targeted efforts in the NCT of Delhi.

With effective and standardized clinical management protocols based on holistic Standard of Care approach, the Case Fatality Rate continues on its downward trend which means that the collective efforts of the Central Government and State/UT governments have resulted to keep a check on the mortality due to COVID-19. It has significantly dipped to 2.35 percent today. India has one of the lowest fatality rates in the world.

Cabinet Secretary reviews the management of COVID-19 in nine States with high active case load

The Central Government has advised Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam to urgently ramp up testing, strictly implement containment plan, augment health infrastructure and ensure effective clinical management of COVID-19 cases.

A graded, proactive, progressive and well-coordinated strategy of COVID-19 management between the Central government and States/UTs has resulted in ever-increasing Recoveries in the country, with progressively falling Case Fatality Rate.

There are, however, some States which have in the recent past shown high rise in daily number of active cases and are emerging as concern areas from COVID management point of view.

As part of Centre-State coordinated strategy for effective containment and management of the COVID-19 pandemic, a high level virtual review meeting was chaired by Cabinet Secretary with the Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of the nine States that are driving the present spurt of the active caseload in the country.

The nine States that participated in the video conference are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The Cabinet Secretary had a detailed review on the State-specific COVID response strategy with the Health Secretaries and other State officials as well as on the factors that were leading to rising case-load in these States in recent times.

In keeping with the “Test Track Treat’ strategy, the States were advised to ramp up the testing with special focus on containment zones.  Areas of concern with respect to low testing in certain States was highlighted. It was reiterated that sustained and aggressive testing is crucial for early identification of cases and to prevent spread of infection.

The Cabinet Secretary stressed the need for prompt and proper delineation of containment zones as per the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; intensive contact tracing and house-to-house active case search within the Containment Zones so as to effectively break the chain of transmission. Buffer Zones have to be identified outside the Containment Zones and continued surveillance of SARI/ILI cases needs to be undertaken. 

The States were advised to have a clear focus on health infrastructure availability, including requisite number of beds, oxygen and ventilators across the State with implementation of clinical protocols ensuring the prescribed Quality of Care and seamless patient management. Effective ambulance management with zero refusal rate was also highlighted in the review meeting.

The Cabinet Secretary also emphasized the imperative of keeping the fatality rates low. For this, mapping of high-risk population must be done, particularly the elderly and aged people and those with co-morbidities.

The attention of the States was drawn to the fact that early detection and timely clinical management is the key to contain the spread of COVID-19. (eom)

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