“India has one of the lowest cases per million (538) and deaths per million (15) compared to the global average of 1,453 and 68.7, respectively,’’ said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday after chairing the 18th meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on coronavirus ( COVID-19 ).
Within the country, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat) contributed to around 90% of the active caseload and 49 districts accounted for 80% of active caseload currently. Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal accounted for 86% of total deaths, and 32 districts accounted for 80% deaths, he said.
A Health Ministry release said that the GoM was briefed that presently there were 3,914 facilities with 3,77,737 isolation beds (without ICU support), 39,820 ICU beds and 1,42,415 oxygen supported beds along with 20,047 ventilators. In terms of healthcare logistics, cumulatively 213.55 lakh N95 masks, 120.94 lakh PPEs and 612.57 lakh hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets have been distributed.
Dr. Vardhan said that “as we move forward, our focus shall be on the management of COVID-19 through strict containment measures and surveillance; utilising full testing capacity; focussing on monitoring of co-morbid and elderly population; predicting emerging hotspots by leveraging digital tools such as Aarogya Setu ; ensuring seamless patient admission processes; focussing on infrastructure preparedness (critical care beds, oxygen, ventilators and logistics).” He pointed out that “along with States/UTs, our aim is to reduce and keep the Case Fatality Rate low by early identification and effective clinical management”.
Dr. Sujeet K Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control, presented a detailed report on surveillance efforts undertaken during the pandemic. He said that the focus had been on strict containment strategy and surveillance through SARI/ILI cases, serological survey and increase in lab network to widen countrywide testing.
“The major concern areas in the country were highlighted and the measures to be taken were listed including timely clinical management along with testing and surveillance in the high risk population with co-morbidities to reduce the Case Fatality Ratio,’’ he noted.