Health

Coronavirus | India’s COVID-19 cases cross 2 million

Health workers take blood samples for a random serological test to check for antibodies against the coronavirus in New Delhi on August 6, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India crossed two million on Thursday, show data collated from various State health departments. As of 10.30 p.m. on Thursday, the figure stood at 2,025,197 with the addition of 61,996 infections, a daily high. The death tally has now increased to 41,649, with the addition of 907 deaths. Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh had not released data.

The Health Ministry said India’s COVID-19 recovery rate climbed to 67.62% as total recoveries crossed 13.2 lakh and the case fatality rate continue to slide to 2.07% on Thursday.

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The country tested a record 6,64,949 samples in 24 hours, the Ministry said. More than 6 lakh tests were done for the third successive day, it said.

India registered 46,121 recoveries in the last 24 hours, with the total recoveries jumping to 13,28,336. Member-countries in the South-East Asia region, including India, have been asked by the World Health Organization (WHO) to maintain essential health services and accelerate resumption of disrupted services hit by the pandemic as an integral part of the COVID-19 response.

‘Immense strain’

Issuing this direction on Thursday, the WHO said the pandemic had put immense strain on health systems across the South-East Asia region. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia region, in a virtual meeting with Health Ministers, said: “The pandemic has put immense strain on health systems across the South-East Asia region. The previous disease outbreaks have shown that disruption to essential services caused by an outbreak can be more deadly than the outbreak itself. We must fast-track efforts and do all we can to avoid that happening, while continuing efforts to break COVID-19 transmission chains”.

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, participating in the meeting, said India had been able to achieve a growing recovery rate with the actual case load of the country now at 5,95,501 active cases. “The active cases as a percentage of total cases have seen a significant drop from 34.17% on July 24, 2020 to 30.31% currently,” he said.

The Minister noted that States like Chhattisgarh continued with immunisation services even within the containment and buffer zones and delivered medicines for hypertension and diabetes.

Coronavirus | India’s COVID-19 cases cross 2 million

“Telangana tagged every pregnant woman with an ambulance to ensure safe and institutional delivery. Thalassemia and dialysis patients were also transported using ambulances for availing timely services. Odisha and West Bengal separated infrastructure and human resource for COVID and non-COVID essential health services, thereby ensuring their optimum utilisation. Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand filled all the vacancies of all critical human resource in public healthcare system during the pandemic. States such as Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala provided non-essential health services through tele-consultation using eSanjeevani OPD facility,” said the Minister.

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WHO has reiterated that since the outbreak of COVID-19, repurposing of health workers, cancellation of elective care, closure of outpatient services, insufficient personal protective equipment, and changes in the treatment policy have significantly impacted delivery of essential services. Additionally, changes in health-seeking behaviour, constrained physical access and financial hardship have also limited service uptake.

Innovative ways

“Countries in the region have been developing and implementing innovative ways to overcome these challenges — leveraging the potential of telemedicine; developing novel supply chains and medicine dispensary options; and better engaging the private sector and communities. WHO issued guidance on maintaining essential health services in March and its update in June as a core part of the pandemic response which has been a critical part of the region’s COVID-19 response,” said Dr. Singh.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 9:11:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/coronavirus-indias-covid-19-cases-cross-2-million/article32288683.ece

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