Coronavirus | Remdesivir cleared for ‘emergency use’

Ministry denies under-reporting of COVID deaths, says country is far from peak

Updated - June 03, 2020 01:32 am IST

Published - June 02, 2020 09:47 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A staffer moving medical waste from a special COVID-19 ward at the LNJP hospital in New Delhi on Tuesday.

A staffer moving medical waste from a special COVID-19 ward at the LNJP hospital in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Antiviral drug Remdesivir has been cleared for treatment of COVID-19 patients “under emergency use,” the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday, adding that the decision was based on available evidence. The Ministry denied any under-reporting of COVID-19 deaths and reiterated that the country was far from peak.

Also read: An open letter from scientists across the globe calling for use of fabric masks to prevent COVID-19

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientist Nivedita Gupta told a press conference on Tuesday that India was still far from COVID-19 peak. “We have managed to curtail the disease through effective control with the country now seeing a reduction in mortality rate,” she said.

“There is no gross under-reporting of deaths in India. We have been good in terms of reduction in mortality, compared to other countries. It is not fair to attribute every death to COVID,” she said.

Medical infrastructure

The Health Ministry said that with the number of cases rising, “each State government has been given an estimated case surge based on analysis of the COVID trends across India and States have been asked to prepare their medical infrastructure accordingly. Our focus is to increase the number of beds with oxygen support as very few COVID patients need ICU and ventilator support,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry.

Also read: ICMR plans to study whether novel coronavirus strain in India changed form

He said the primary focus remained on containment zones, identifying cases and contact tracing in the particular areas.

8,171 new cases

India on Tuesday reported 8,171 new cases and 204 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the country now stands at 1,98,706 with 5,598 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

With inputs from States, the total number of cases stand at 2,07,158, the death toll at 5,824 and active cases at 1,03,076.

The Ministry said 73% of COVID-19 deaths in India were of people with co-morbidities.

Coronavirus, June 2 updates | State Helpline numbers for COVID-19

To a question on where India stood in terms of community transmission, Dr. Gupta said: “Instead of the use of the word ‘community transmission’, we need to understand the extent of the spread of the disease. ICMR is conducting sero survey to determine the extent of transmission of virus. About 34,000 individuals are being tested and the results are expected to be out within a week or so.”

The Health Ministry noted that recovery rate was improving and the fatality rate was going down. “Ten per cent of India’s population accounts for 50% of the COVID-19 linked deaths. Also till now, 95,527 patients have recovered across the country, taking the recovery rate to over 48% now,” noted the Ministry.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India| e-Book on COVID-19| State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates

Wrong comparison

“Wrong conclusion is being drawn when we say that in terms of number of cases, our country is in the seventh place worldwide. Comparison should be made primary in terms of our country’s population size,” said Mr. Agarwal.

“And India has done well so far with the fatality rate continuously declining from 3.30% on April 15 to 2.82% now. This compared to the 6.13% fatality rate of the world. After India, it is 4.7% in Germany, 5.8% in Brazil, 5.9% in U.S., 7.8% in Canada,” he said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.