The Health Minister on Thursday said that India has not yet reached the community transmission stage of COVID-19 and there have been localised outbreaks of the pandemic in some pockets of the country.

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NEW DELHI: The Health Minister on Thursday said that India has not yet reached the community transmission stage of COVID-19 and there have been localised outbreaks of the pandemic in some pockets of the country.

Addressing a joint press conference along with Home Ministry and ICMR officials, Rajesh Bhushan, OSD, Ministry of Health, said, “We are the second-most populous country of the world. Despite a population of 1.3 billion people, India has been able to manage COVID-19 relatively well. If you look at cases per million population it still remains amongst the lowest in the world.”

“People over 60 years account for 53 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in India,” the Health Ministry official said. Bhushan further stated that “India has not yet reached community transmission stage of COVID-19. There have been some localised outbreaks.”

“Today, we have 538 cases per million population, it’s as per the WHO situation report. Cases per million population in some countries are at least 16-17 times more than what it is in India. We have 15 deaths per million population whereas we have countries where it is 40 times as much,” Rajesh Bhushan said.

Bhushan said that the World Health Organization has also not provided any standard definition of the localised outbreak and community transmission. They have given its member states the right to report after assessing the local conditions, he added.

COVID-19 recovered cases are 1.75 times that of active cases, he said during the press briefing. Talking about the COVID-19 caseload in the country, the Health Ministry official added that it is 2,69,000 people. 

“This tells us that at the end of the day we’ve managed a situation where our health care infrastructure is not unduly burdened and is not creaking due to the pressure,” he said.

Speaking on her turn, senior ICMR scientist Nivedita Gupta said, “The number of COVID-19 tests has increased, on an average, we are testing more than 2.6 lakh samples per day. We hope to see a further rise by the use of the antigen test.’’

Sharing more information, Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, MHA, said, “Till 8 July, 6,79,831 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Delhi, that means 35,780 tests per 10 lakh people. Over 20,000 tests are being conducted daily.”

Taking about the situation in Delhi, Salila Srivastava said that active cases are under control despite an increase in testing capabilities in Delhi.

Referring to controversy related to ICMR’s letter, the official said, ” Please don’t read something which is not there in DG-ICMR’s letter. Letter’s intent is only to expedite duly approved clinical trials without compromising on safety & security concerns.”

He said this when asked why asked about the August 15 deadline for releasing the vaccine.

Bharat Biotech and Cadila Healthcare are developing vaccines. Both vaccines completed animal toxicity studies after approval. DCGI has permitted these 2 vaccines to go in for phase 1 & 2 clinical trials. Trials are yet to begin. Hope it begins soon, Bhushan said.

He further informed that in the near future, ICMR is planning a follow-up seroprevalence study pan India to the earlier sero-surveillance that they had done for mid-April infections.

Earlier in the day, Union Health Harsh Vardhan, who chaired a Group of Ministers meet to review the COVID-19 situation, had said that there is no community transmission of the deadly virus yet in the country. 
“During our discussions today, experts again stated that there is no community transmission in India. There may be some localised pockets where transmission is high but as a country, there’s no community transmission,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said after the Group of Ministers meet on COVID-19.

While reaffirming that the situation is fully under control, the Health Minister said that people need to see the COVID-19 situation in the correct perspective. 

“We are seeing on TV that India has become the 3rd most COVID-19 affected country. It is necessary to see this in the correct perspective; we are a country with the second-highest population in the world,” Harsh Vardhan said adding, “Our cases per million are 538, while the world average is 1,453.”

India on Thursday recorded the highest single-day spike of over 24,879 new coronavirus cases and 487 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the total tally to 7,67,296 with 21,129 deaths on Thursday.

According to the Health Ministry data, out of total 7,67,296 cases, 4,76,377 have recovered while 2,69,789 remain active in the country. With more COVID-19 patients recovering, the gap between the number of recovered cases and active cases has increased by two lakh.

The rate of recovery among the COVID-19 patients continues to increase and has touched 61.53 per cent. India, however, remains to be the third worst-affected country after the US and Brazil.

During the last 24 hours, 2,67,061 samples were tested, as the testing lab network continues to expand. As on date, more than 1,119 labs have enabled people to undergo coronavirus tests.

Maharashtra tops the chart and remains the worst-hit state, with cases reaching up to 2,23,724 and 9,250 casualties so far, of which 198 occurred in the last 24 hours. Tamil Nadu remained the second-worst hit with a total of 1,22,350 cases, including 1,700 deaths.

With 2,033 new coronavirus cases and 48 deaths in the last 24 hours, the national capital recorded a total tally of 1,04,864 and 3,213 deaths.

States with more than 10,000 cases include Gujarat with 38,333 cases and 1,993 deaths, Uttar Pradesh (31,156), Rajasthan (22,063), Madhya Pradesh (16,036), West Bengal (24,823), Haryana (18,690), Karnataka (28,877), Andhra Pradesh (22,259), Telangana (29,536) and Bihar (13,189) cases.

On the global front, the overall number of global COVID-19 cases has surpassed the 12 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 548,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

News Credit Zee News