From Our Bureau                       

7th MAY 2020

A total of 52,952 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country so far and the death toll mounted to 1,783 on Thursday.  As many as 15,267 patients have been cured with a recovery rate of 28.8 per cent. The number of active cases in the hospitals reached 35,902.  In the last 24 hours, 3,561 new confirmed cases have been reported and 1,084 patients were cured, according to the latest update from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, appreciated the dedication of all the States in combating COVID-19 pandemic in the country. He added that in comparison to other countries, India is in a better condition as the fatality rate is 3.3 percent and recovery rate is 28.8 percent. Out of the total active cases, 4.8 percent of the patients are in ICU, 1.1 percent are on ventilators and 3.3 percent on oxygen support.

The testing capacity has increased in the country and 95,000 tests are being conducted per day win the 327 Government laboratories and 118 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 13,57,442 tests have been done so far for COVID-19.

The Minister said that as on date, there are 180 districts with no new fresh cases in less than 7 days, 180 districts with no new cases in 7-13 days, 164 districts which have not had any new cases in 14-20 days and 136 districts with no new cases since the last 21-28 days.

There are 13 States/Union Territories—Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Odisha which had not reported any case in the last 24 hours. While Daman & Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have not reported a single case till date.

The Union Minister stated that there are 130 hotspot districts, 284 non-hotspot districts and 319 non-affected districts in the country. As of now, 821 dedicated COVID hospitals with 1,50,059 beds (Isolation beds- 1,32,219 and ICU beds- 17,840) and 1,898 dedicated COVID Health Centres with 1,19,109 beds (Isolation beds- 1,09,286 and ICU beds- 9,823) along with 7,569 quarantine centres are now functioning in the country to combat COVID-19.

Dr Harsh Vardhan held a high level meeting today with Health Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal and senior officials from both Centre and the States to review the situation, actions being taken and preparedness for management of COVID-19 in the three States.

The Minister said that 29.06 lakh Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) and 62.77 lakh N-95 masks have been distributed among the States/UTs/Central Institutions so far. 

After a brief presentation on the status of COVID-19 cases in the States, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that “States need to focus on more effective surveillance, contact tracing and early diagnosis to keep low fatality rate. Surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI)/ Influenza Like Illness (ILI) should be intensified in unaffected districts and districts which have not reported cases from last 14 days in collaboration with Medical College Hospitals. Such measures will help to indicate the presence of any possible hidden infection at an early stage thus helping in its timely containment.”

The Minister stressed that States need to ensure adoption of Infection, Prevention & Control (IPC) practices in all healthcare settings to avoid/reduce chances of infections to health care workers. States were advised to ensure that all Central Guidelines/ Advisories are implemented till the field level in earnest.

The States informed the Union Minister on the measures taken to partner with private hospitals for COVID-19 management. Health officials from Uttar Pradesh stated that they have identified private hospitals as dedicated COVID health facilities on payment basis.

The Minister appreciated the best practices shared by the District Magistrates/ Commissioners and other officials of various districts like “Gram Nigrani Samitis/ Mohalla Nigrani Samitis” developed in Uttar Pradesh for more effective surveillance and search of cases, etc.

In view of the surge in number of migrant labour expected to reach the States in the days to come, Dr. Harsh Vardhan exhorted the States that robust strategy and mechanism need to be drawn up for their testing, quarantine, and treatment of the positive cases. Some States shall also see immigrants from abroad too. An effective strategy also needs to be put in place for their testing, institutional quarantine and treatment, if needed.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also suggested that along with the surveillance teams in the containment areas, community volunteers may also be identified at the ward-level to spread awareness about the preventive measures like hand washing, physical distancing etc., and they can also play an effective role in removing the stigma prevailing in the society.

It was reiterated to the States that attention needs to be accorded to provisioning of non-COVID essential health services regarding immunisation drives, TB case finding and treatment, providing blood transfusion for dialysis patients, treatment of cancer patients, ANC of pregnant women, etc. Telemedicine and tele-counselling could be used for a larger population in view of the lockdown. States have been advised to keep adequate stock of essential medicines. They were told to take adequate measures for prevention of vector diseases. (eom)

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