New Delhi: No fresh COVID-19 cases have been detected in 180 districts in the country in the last seven days, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday.
In his virtual address at the 25th meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) to discuss the pandemic situation, the minister said that as on date, 1.34 per cent of COVID-19 patients were in ICU, 0.39 per cent on ventilator support and 3.70 per cent on oxygen support.
Vardhan, who chaired the meeting through video conference, said, “180 districts have showed no fresh cases in the last seven days, 18 districts in 14 days, 54 districts in 21 days and 32 districts were bereft of any fresh cases in the last 28 days.”
He said across the country, the number of patients in ICU beds is 4,88,861 while 1,70,841 patients were on ventilators and 9,02,291 patients were on oxygen support.
The meeting was attended by Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Chemical and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare, and Dr Vinod K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog were present in the meeting.
Harsh Vardhan informed the GoM that the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 16.73 crore on Saturday which includes nearly 23 lakh doses given on Friday.
“A total of 17,49,57,770 doses have been delivered to the states, out of which 16,65,49,583 doses have been consumed and 84,08,187 doses are still available with the states. A total of 53,25,000 doses are on the pipeline and will be supplied to the states soon,” he said.
Reiterating the importance of full protection through two COVID vaccine doses, he urged all citizens to get the second dose saying it boosts the immunity against COVID-19 manifold.
He requested the states to set aside 70 per cent of the vaccines received through central government channel for administration of the second dose.
On the tests being conducted in India, the minister noted that the country has reached a testing capacity of 25,00,000 tests per day.
He informed that a total of 30,60,18,044 tests have been conducted so far in India, which includes 18,08,344 tests in the last 24 hours. He said the country is presently served by 2,514 labs.
Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) highlighted the COVID trajectory of India and underscored the need and importance of significantly ramping up testing and hospital infrastructure in Tier-II/III cities in view of the surge in cases which has seen a shift to these regions/areas too.
“States of Maharashtra (1.27 per cent), Karnataka (3.05 per cent), Kerala (2.35), Uttar Pradesh (2.44), Tamil Nadu (1.86), Delhi (1.92), Andhra Pradesh (1.90), West Bengal (2.19), Chhattisgarh (2.06), Rajasthan (2.99), Gujarat (2.40), Madhya Pradesh (2.24 per cent) were highlighted because of their high seven-day growth rate in cases,” according to an official statement from the ministry.
The districts/metropolis of Bengaluru (Urban), Ganjam, Pune, Delhi, Nagpur, Mumbai, Ernakulam, Lucknow, Kozhikode (Calicut), Thane, Nashik, Malappuram, Thrissur, Jaipur, Gurugram, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Chandrapur, Kolkata, Palakkad are the top 20 contributors of active cases in the country, the ministry said.
“Emphasis on timely provision of clinical care in high transmission areas to reduce morbidity and mortality, advance preparedness in anticipation of rise in cases, increase in testing using RAT and tracing of those who might have contracted the infection, emphasis on clinic-epidemiological linkage of genomic surveillance with transmission dynamics, clinical severity and age profile of new cases were highlighted as important steps ahead in the meeting,” it said.
Dr V K Paul, as Chairman, gave a detailed report on the work of the Empowered Group-1 and highlighted the various efforts made towards ramping of hospital infrastructure for effective clinical management of hospitalized patients.
The ministry said that urgent steps to halt transmission by intensified containment through community-led effort and restrictions, improvement of messaging breadth and reach to curb panic and free flow of misinformation, promotion of home care in Covid and demystification of treatment to reduce load on hospitals, rational use of Remdesivir, Oxygen and other drugs, the augmentation of railway coaches as isolation beds, enhanced focus on rural COVID care were presented at the meeting.
“The progress on epidemiological evidence, new technical advisories for dynamic guidance and hand holding of states/UTs etc., through various stakeholders was also enumerated,” it said.