Mumbai, 30 July 2020
More than 10 lakh patients in India have recovered from COVID-19 so far. COVID-19 Recovery Rate is continuously rising. Stating this, Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Health Ministry stated, “”It is a piece of heartening news as it reflects that whatever efforts are being put in this battle against COVID-19 by the Union Government in collaboration with the state governments is actually showing results. This is not just a big piece of good news but a big achievement as well. It shows how our public health system worked together and saved more than 10 lakh lives”. As on June 4, one lakh patients had recovered; around June 25, the figure of recoveries had crossed 3 lakh and today morning, the total number of recoveries stood at 10,20,582. “The landmark recovery of more than 1 million COVID-19 recoveries has been achieved due to the selfless work, dedication and commitment to duty, of our frontline health care workers. It is a time for us to stand up and applaud their contribution”, further stated Shri Bhushan. He was addressing the media in a press briefing on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on COVID-19 held at National Media Centre in New Delhi today. Shri Bhushan also stated, there is a continuous decrease in proportion of active COVID19 cases and a progressive increase in proportion of recovered cases. This apart, percentage of deaths is also coming down. This apart, based on 7-day rolling average, 21 states and UTs have a COVID-19 positivity rate which is less than 10%, informed the Health Secretary.
Explaining in detail, Shri Bhushan said,” Around the first week of July, more than 14,800 recoveries on an average used to occur in a daily basis. Over the last week, an average of 34,230 recoveries took place every day. In many States and UTs the rate of recovery has been higher than this. The national average recovery per day on a week-on-week basis has been showing a progressive increase. In terms of percentage, the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients in the country, which was less than 8% in April, is now more than 64%”. He also stated, 16 states have reported a COVID-19 recovery rate which is higher than the national average rate. Delhi has the highest recovery rate of 88.99%, followed by 80.185 in the UT of Ladakh and then Haryana at 78.56%.
The Health Secretary further said, COVID-19 case load of India, that is the count of active cases is 5,28,242, whereas 10,20,582 lakh patients have recovered till today morning. Hence, number of recovered cases is 1.9 times more than that of active cases. Speaking about fatality rate, he said, while the fatality was 3.33% in the month of June and has now come down to 2.21% which is amongst the lowest in the world, except for Russia, while most developed western countries have a fatality rate which is 5-7 times higher than that of India. Further, 24 states and UTs report a COVID-19 fatality rate which is lower than the national average. Many states have a fatality rate which is less than 1%, he added. “Effective clinical management as per standard clinical treatment protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been successful in reducing fatality rate due to COVID-19”, said the Health Secretary.
This apart, the daily rate of testing has also increased. More than one crore tests have been done in this one month, leading to a cumulative number of more than 1.81 crore tests till today. On July 1, the figure of total testing was 88 lakhs. This has been possible because of forming 1321 labs, informed Shri Bhushan. From 2.4 lakh COVID-19 tests per day in the beginning of this month, now we are testing more than 4.6 lakh tests per day; on three days between July 25-27, more than 5 lakh tests per day were done too. This enables us to identify and treat cases timely, stated Shri Bhushan. While the national average is 324 tests per day per million populations, 31 States and UTs are continuing to perform more than 140 tests per day per million populations, as per WHO’s guidelines. We are engaging with other states to help them change their testing strategy and reduce positivity rate, further stated the Health Secretary.
In reply to a media query on whether developing ‘herd immunity’ via previous COVID-19 infection a strategic option or choice for India, the Health Secretary stated, “No, it is not, in a country like India, with a population of roughly 138 crores, it can only be an outcome, at a very high cost”. Explaining this, he said, Herd Immunity is a kind of indirect protection from an infectious disease like COVID-19, which happens only when a population becomes immune, either through vaccination or previous infection. Stating this, he advised that we need to sustain COVID-19 appropriate behaviours.
About progress made in the two indigenous vaccines, Shri Bhushan informed, those are undergoing Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials which are being conducted on more than 1,000 subjects for each vaccine. In this connection, the Health Secretary informed, Health Ministry has begun to actively engage with stakeholders within & outside the Government on prioritizing distribution & administering of COVID-19 vaccines, if and when they become available. He further said, there is near unanimity on the need to administer COVID-19 vaccine on a much larger scale than other vaccines; apart from questions regarding logistics, this poses many ethical questions which are still being deliberated upon within the Central Government, he added.
Shri Bhushan also informed, India is a member of and plays a leading role in both Gavi and CEPI vaccine projects. A dedicated facility called COVAX for vaccines has been developed under this, along with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance & the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). Notably, WHO has evolved Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, to accelerate the Development, Production and Equitable Access to New COVID-19 diagnostics, drugs & vaccines. The ACT facility under WHO will pool requirement & manufacturing capacity of countries to enable equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
On a media query regarding insurance scheme for COVID-19 healthcare workers, Shri Bhushan stated, 131 claims have been received, while 20 cases have been settled, 64 are under process and 47 are with states so far. Maximum cases are in Maharashtra, Delhi, Telangana, he added.
About Unlock-3 Guidelines where gyms & yoga centres have been allowed to be opened from August 5, the Health Secretary said, Health Ministry is taking technical inputs from domain knowledge experts, guidelines for operation of these facilities will be issued adequately in advance.
The presentation given by Health Secretary can be found here.