Mumbai: India’s COVID-19 recoveries have crossed 56 lakhs, with a recovery rate exceeding 84%. More than 8 crore COVID tests have been conducted so far, of which 80 lakh tests were done in the last week. This has been briefed by Union Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Shri Rajesh Bhushan in a media briefing on latest updates, preparedness and actions taken on COVID-19, at the National Media Centre in New Delhi today.
The Health Secretary also mentioned that there is a gradual decline in daily new cases being reported in the country. It has been stated that daily positivity rate is declining when compared to the previous week and that the new recoveries have exceeded the new cases reported in recent days.
“Maximum recoveries were reported on 26 September with 93,420 recoveries in just 24 hours while maximum number of new cases were reported on 27 Sep with around 88,600 cases in a single day”, said Shri. Bhushan.
While speaking about the spread of COVID-19 in the country he mentioned that, 10 States account for 77% of total active cases of which three States viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala account for 50 % of country’s total active cases. Analysing the trend of COVID cases reported in different states, he remarked that it is too early to take a call on Maharashtra and that there is a need to observe the state for a longer period of time.
Speaking about the fatality rate of the country, he mentioned that 48% of total COVID-19 deaths in the country are concentrated in 25 districts of 8 states, out of which 15 districts are in Maharashtra. “Health & Family Welfare department is working with states to bring down COVID-19 case fatality rate”, he said.
“As we approach festival and winter season which is conducive for spread of diseases such as influenza, we need to be extra cautious. We have told all states to ensure effective implementation of public health strategies in the fight against COVID-19”, he added.
He also said that a digital platform is being built to track COVID-19 vaccine administration and movement, from procurement to storage to distribution to individual beneficiaries and that online training modules are being developed for vaccinators.
Secretary, AYUSH Ministry, Shri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha spoke about the ‘ ‘National Clinical Management Protocol’ based on Ayurveda and Yoga for management of COVID-19, released by Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan today. He mentioned that the protocol has been brought out considering the Ayurveda literature and clinical experience, empirical evidences and biological plausibility and also emerging trends of ongoing clinical studies.
He also insisted that the guidelines are to be used in addition to following all COVID appropriate behaviour and Standard Advisory Protocol and these are not a replacement for the same.
Shri Kotecha, spoke in detail about various preventive measures to fight COVID-19. He stated about a few general measures like gargling with warm water with turmeric and salt, steam inhalation, moderate physical exercises as well as dietary measures like drinking AYUSH Kadha or Kwath once a day. “These are our traditional wisdom which we can use regularly”, he stated. He also briefed about the usage of various ayurvedic medicines like Ashwagandha and Guduchi and its dosage to be followed for high risk as well as primary contacts. He also explained about preclinical and clinical studies conducted while coming up with the above mentioned medicinal recommendations
He insisted that the protocol based on Ayurveda and Yoga for Management of COVID-19 should not lead to a false sense of security which leads one to abandonment of COVID-appropriate behaviour.
While answering a query on Indian Council of Medical Research’s study on Plasma Therapy, DG, ICMR Prof. (Dr.) Balram Bhargava informed that the study has clearly established that there is no benefit of plasma therapy in arresting mortality in moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. “Following a cue from it, we have developed horse serum, for which we have got clearance for clinical trial”, he added.
In reply to a media query Health Secretary stated that the Russian vaccine has an agreement with an Indian commercial entity which has approached the Indian regulator for clinical trials and that the regulator has given some suggestions which need to be incorporated by the entity.
In reply to another query regarding Insurance claim for frontline healthcare workers, Health Secretary mentioned that Rs. 50 lakh each has been paid to families of 95 frontline healthcare workers who had lost their lives to COVID-19. He also stated that 176 claims are being processed and in addition to these there are 79 claims which are yet to be received from various states