Coronavirus | Gear up for vaccine roll out, WHO tells countries

PM launches Jan Andolan ahead of festival season to check COVID spread

Updated - October 08, 2020 10:33 pm IST

Published - October 08, 2020 06:20 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region. File

Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region. File

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a Andolan campaign for COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. The campaign was launched in view of the upcoming festival and winter season as well as the opening up of the economy, said a release issued by the Union Health Ministry.

“This will be a low cost, high intensity campaign with the key message of “Wear Mask, Follow Physical Distancing, Maintain Hand Hygiene”, ” said the Ministry.

Also read: Coronavirus | Vaccine supplies likely from early 2021: Health Secretary

The campaign has been launched even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged countries to plan for efficient roll out of COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available.

SE Asia at risk

“Like the rest of the world, the South-East Asia region continues to be at risk. To stop the spread of COVID-19 virus, we need to do it all — continued strong leadership; robust public health measures; clear communication and an engaged, empowered and enabled population — to turn the tide,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region.

Also read: Coronavirus | One in five Indians may be vaccinated by July 2021, says Harsh Vardhan

In a communication to the member countries, Dr. Singh said, the global race for COVID-19 vaccine has gathered momentum. In anticipation of development of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, countries should be prepared with an efficient and coordinated strategy and plan for roll-out of vaccination.

Vaccine availability is likely to be limited initially, hence it will be important to clearly identify goals of national vaccination strategy, she said. She added that the COVID-19 vaccination should aim at minimising the societal and economic impact by reducing deaths caused by the disease.

Also read: Coronavirus | COVID vaccine likely in early 2021, says Harsh Vardhan

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry on Thursday noted that India has registered an increase in the COVID-19 testing infrastructure since January 2020.

Improved testing

“The country’s testing capacities have multiplied manifold. More than 15 lakh samples can be tested every day. Several States/UTs have exceeded the WHO advised number of tests. The national average of tests per day per million population stands at 865. Nearly 12 lakh tests were conducted in the last 24 hours in the country. With 11,94,321 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tests have crossed 8.34 crore (8,34,65,975),” said the Ministry.

The Ministry added that evidence has revealed, that higher testing on a sustained basis has helped bring down the positivity rate.

“The sharp decline in national cumulative positivity rate has demonstrated that the rate of spread of infection is being contained. Higher testing across wide regions leads to early identification of positive cases, prompt tracking through efficient surveillance and tracing, and timely & effective treatment in homes/facilities and in hospitals for the severe cases,” it said.

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