Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan chaired the 29th meeting of the High-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on Covid-19 by a video-conference. The GoM placed on record their appreciation for all those who have worked tirelessly for Covid management, and for ramping up the coverage and speed of Covid vaccination across the country.
Dr Harsh Vardhan gave a snapshot of India’s efforts to contain Covid-19 at the outset. “In the last 24 hours, we have had only 46,148 cases making the active caseload declined significantly to 5,72,994 in the country. The recovery rate has been steadily increasing and stands at 96.80% today. 58,578 recoveries were registered in the last 24 hours. Today is the 46th day in succession where our daily recoveries outnumbered new cases. Our case fatality rate has been 1.30%, daily positivity rate at 2.94% and weekly positivity rate also stands at 2.94% which has been consistently below 5% for 21 days now.”
Speaking on the Covid-19 vaccination drive, Dr Harsh Vardhan observed, “India has achieved another milestone in Covid-19 vaccination and has overtaken USA in a total number of Covid vaccine doses administered so far. USA started vaccinating against Covid on 14 December 2020 whereas the drive was launched in India on 16 January 2021.”
Under the new policy of Covid Vaccination, he said that the Union Government is procuring and supplying (free of cost) 75% of the vaccines being produced by the vaccine manufacturers in the country to states and union territories. “Till today morning at 8 am, we have administered 32,36,63,297 vaccine doses to our countrymen in various categories. These include 1,01,98,257 Healthcare Workers (HCWs) who have taken the first dose and 72,07,617 HCWs who have taken the second dose, 1,74,42,767 Frontline Workers (FLWs) (First dose), 93,99,319 FLWs (Second dose), and 8,46,51,696 for 18-44 years of age group (First dose) and 19,01,190 for the second dose.”
Also, 8,71,11,445 for over 45 years old to 60 years old (first dose), 1,48,12,349 for over 45 years old to 60 years old (second dose), 6,75,29,713 for above 60 years (first dose) and 2,34,08,944 for above 60 years (2nd Dose), Dr Harsh Vardhan added.
He also apprised the GOM members on the trajectory of Mucormycosis infections that have occurred in the ongoing phase of the Covid-19. “Total of 40,845 cases has been reported of which 31,344 cases are rhinocerebral in nature. Fatality from the infections stands at 3,129. Of the total numbers, 34,940 patients had Covid (85.5%), 26,187 (about 64.11%) were co-morbid for diabetes while 21,523 (52.69%) of those infected were on steroids. 13,083 patients were in the age group 18-45 (32%), 17,464 were in the age group 45-60 (42%) while 10,082 (24%) patients were 60+ years of age.”
The GOM strongly reiterated the importance of Covid appropriate behaviour. A higher level of continued awareness building through sustained IEC campaigns was highlighted. Dr V K Paul emphasized the benefits of mask-wearing and hand hygiene.
Dr Balram Bhargava, Secretary (Health Research) & DG (ICMR) also cautioned that the second wave of Covid-19 has still not subsided as 80 districts in the country still have high positivity. He advised against any laxity at this stage. He also explained that vaccines have been found effective against the alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants of Covid-19.
Dr Sujeet K Singh, Director (NCDC) presented a detailed report on the trajectory of Covid in the states and UTs. He presented a granular analysis based on epidemiological findings of the trajectory of the pandemic in each state pointing out critical parameters like the growth of cases, the concentration of cases in particular districts and other trends like fatality and the variants of Covid-19 driving the infection in the affected states.
Active cases continue to be concentrated mainly in Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Odisha which are reporting growth rate more than the national Covid growth rate. While 19 states are reporting fatality figures in single-digit (less than 10), four states of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are reporting more than a hundred deaths daily.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Chairs GOM on Covid-19; Vaccines Found Effective against Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta Variants