COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors
As Recoveries in India grow, difference with Active Cases widens
The number of recoveries in India today exceeds the active cases by 3.5 times. The single day recovery figure has been more than 60,000 since many days. Recovery of 63,173 COVID-19 patients in the last 24 hours has resulted in the cumulative recoveries of 24, 67,758 people. This has contributed to the rapidly widening chasm between the number of percentage recovered and percentage active cases further. 17, 60,489 people have recovered more than the active cases (7, 07,267). With this, India's Recovery Rate amongst the COVID-19 patients has crossed 76% (76.30%) today. The record high recoveries have ensured that the actual caseload of the country viz. the active cases, has further lowered. It currently comprises only 21.87%of the total positive cases. The steadily declining Case Fatality Rates stands at 1.84% today.
Over 8 lakh average tests every day, India scales up COVID-19 testing
Early identification of the COVID-19 infections through timely and aggressive TESTING has played a pivotal role in India’s strategy to fight the pandemic. The 7-day average rolling numbers of tests/day indicate the determined, focused, consistent and coordinated efforts of the Centre and the State/UT governments in this direction. The cumulative testing as on date has reached 3, 76, 51,512. In the last 24 hours 8, 23,992 tests were conducted. Such high level of testing on a sustained basis leads to early diagnosis. Expanded diagnostic lab network and facilitation for easy testing across the country have given a substantial boost. Building on this achievement, the Tests per Million (TPM) have seen a sharp increase to 27,284. It continues to maintain the constant upward trend. The growing network of testing labs offer expanded opportunities to strengthen the testing facilities across the country. There are total 1540 labs today, including 992 labs in the government sector and 548 private labs.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan lauds Co-operative Federalism
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare along with Sh. Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan digitally inaugurated two new medical colleges and three Super Speciality Blocks in Rajasthan in the presence of Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS, Health and Family Welfare. The Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia (RVRS) Medical College, Bhilwara and the Bharatpur Medical College have been upgraded from District Hospitals into Medical Colleges while Super Speciality Blocks (SSB) are added to the Government Medical College, Kota; Sardar Patel Medical College, Bikaner; and Ravindra Nath Tagore Medical College, Udaipur. These projects have a combined investment of Rs. 828 crores out of which Rs. 150 crores is invested in each of the medical colleges. The colleges have a capacity of 150 undergraduate students. The Bharatpur Medical College will have 525 beds including 34 ICU beds while RVRS Medical College will have 458 beds including 12 ICU beds.
Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates
Early detection with timely testing played pivotal role in fighting Covid-19
Early identification of the COVID-19 infections through timely and aggressive testing has played a pivotal role in India's strategy to fight the pandemic, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday as the cumulative testing reached 3, 76, 51,512. Following the Centre-led policy of ‘test-track-treat', collaborative efforts of the state and UT governments have led to India consistently ramping up its testing infrastructure to touch a capacity of 10 lakh tests/day, the ministry said. The cumulative testing as on date has reached 3, 76, 51,512, with 8, 23,992 tests being conducted in a span of 24 hours on Tuesday. "Such high level of testing on a sustained basis leads to early diagnosis. Early diagnosis provides opportunities to isolate or hospitalize the positive cases adequately in advance. This in turn facilitates lower mortality rates," the ministry said.
Corneal blindness is one of the leading causes of blindness
Stressing on the need to push eye donation in the country, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said that corneal blindness is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. The National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey 2019, jointly conducted by AIIMS (Delhi) and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has reported that corneal blindness was the leading cause of blindness among patients aged less than 50 years in India, accounting for 37.5% of the cases and was the second leading cause of blindness among patients above the age of 50 years. Addressing the National Eye Donation fortnight celebrations over the interactive webinar organized by AIIMS, New Delhi and the National Eye bank, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “In India, approximately 68 lakh people suffer from corneal blindness in at least one eye; of these, 10 lakh people are blind in both their eyes.” World Health Organization (WHO) reports estimate that approximately 5% of the world’s population is blind due to corneal diseases alone.
AIIMS team visits GMC, asks state to improve RT-PCR result time
A team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi that visited Goa Medical College (GMC) and hospital on Tuesday has suggested that RT-PCR tests be conducted faster. “Yes, they said we need to do RT-PCR tests with less time. I will speak to the team concerned,” GMC dean, Dr S M Bandekar said. He said a cycle of RT-PCR containing 90 samples takes about eight hours to receive results. The AIIMS team comprising professor and head, critical care medicine, Dr. Rajeshwari, professor and head of pulmonary medicine, Dr. Anant Mohan, transplant anesthesiologist, Lt Col Munish Kumar, and critical care specialist, Army hospital (R&R), New Delhi, Lt Col M Shyam, who came to Goa to examine Union Ayush minister Shripad Naik, visited the GMC and the Covid hospital, Margao.
Fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccine a big challenge: WHO Chief Scientist
Distributing COVID-19 vaccine around the world fairly without letting the rich countries corner the limited doses is going to be a big challenge, the World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Wednesday. On vaccine development for the novel corona virus, she said: "By early 2021, we should have some good news." Then, there is the big challenge of being able to scale, distribute and allocate fairly around the world without letting the rich countries corner the limited doses, Swaminathan said. She made the comments while addressing the valedictory of the XV international conference on public policy & management hosted by the Centre for Public Policy at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore in a virtual mode.
Australia records 24 Covid-19 deaths, highest single-day increase
Australia on Wednesday recorded 156 fresh COVID-19 cases and 24 new deaths, the highest single-day increase in the death toll, health officials said. The country's second most populous state of Victoria recorded 149 new corona virus cases and all the latest fatalities, 21 of those linked to aged care outbreaks, taking the state's death toll to 462, and the national death toll to 549. The state's worst single-day spike in COVID-19 deaths was 25, which was recorded last week. State Premier Daniel Andrews, while giving the latest updates, confirmed that there were 1,487 active cases and 121 active outbreaks in aged care settings across the state.
Cambridge's Covid-19 vaccine candidate's trials could begin this fall: Varsity
The University of Cambridge announced on Wednesday that it could start the clinical trial phase of its possible COVID-19 vaccine in late fall or early next year due to the UK government's allocation of £1.9 million ($2.5 million) to the scientific project. "A Cambridge-developed vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 could begin clinical trials in the UK in late autumn or early next year, thanks to a £1.9million award from the UK government," the university said in a statement. If successful, the Cambridge vaccine candidate, which uses synthetic DNA and banks of genetic sequences of all known corona viruses, should be safe for the widespread use and can be manufactured and distributed at a low cost, it added.
State Advisories / Policies / Updates
Rise in corona virus cases in rural areas of Maharashtra
In a worrying trend, corona virus infections are steadily moving towards rural areas of Maharashtra, reflected in rise in number of fresh cases as well as deaths from these regions, said a senior health department official on Wednesday. In initial months of the pandemic, most COVID-19 cases were being reported from big cities, large urban and semi- urban centres, but this is slowly changing now. At the end of the fifth month of lockdown in the state, rural areas have reported a rise in number of fresh COVID-19 cases as well as deaths, the official said.
Books on Vivekananda for Covid-19 patients to beat mental exhaustion
In a novel initiative at the instance of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, the state government has started distributing books on Swami Vivekananda in the Covid Care Centres to help patients overcome mental fatigue. "To keep the Covid-19 patients motivated and mentally strong, we have decided to distribute books written on Swami Vivekananda to every Covid patient so that they can read these books and get inspired by his thoughts," Deb said in a tweet. An official of the Information and Cultural Affairs Department said that the Chief Minister on Tuesday evening handed over sets of books on Swami Vivekananda to the health officials and others to distribute among the under treatment Covid-19 patients.
Highest single-day spike of 5,898 new Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday reported 82 COVID-19 fatalities taking the death toll due to the disease to 3,141, while highest single-day spike of 5,898 new cases took the infection tally to 2, 03,020. "In the past 24 hours, 5,898 fresh COVID-19 cases were found. There are a total of 51,317 active cases in the state, while 1, 48,562 people have been treated and discharged," Additional Chief Secretary (medical and health) Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters here. He said that the state made a record by testing 1, 44,802 samples on Tuesday and added that over 49 lakh tests were conducted in the state till now since outbreak of pandemic. "Soon, the target of doing 1.5 lakh tests per day, set by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, will be achieved," he said.
Meghalaya's Covid-19 tally reaches 2,022
Twenty-one more persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Meghalaya on Wednesday, taking the state's corona virus tally to 2,022, a Health Department official said. Of the new cases, 11 were reported from East Khasi Hills district, 9 cases from East Garo Hills district and 1 case from Ri-Bhoi district, Health Services Director Aman War said. Four patients were cured of the disease taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 836, War said. Eight patients have succumbed to the infection so far, he said. At present, Meghalaya has 1,178 active COVID-19 cases.
Indian researchers start trials on saliva-based Covid-19 testing
India may soon be able to carry out saliva-based tests for Covid-19 diagnosis if the government approves the process that is considered safer for healthcare workers and less discomforting for individuals. The Medanta Institute of Education and Research in Gurgaon, Mumbai-based Diagnostics Company TransAsia Bio, and Pune’s Mylab are among the entities that are trying to get this testing method validated by demonstrating that analysis of saliva samples is as accurate as nasopharyngeal swab collection. They said the process will save resources and time while protecting healthcare professionals from possible exposure to the virus.
Phase II human trial of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine begins in Pune
The Phase II clinical trial of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, being manufactured by the city-based Serum Institute of India (SII), began at a medical college and hospital on Wednesday. Two male volunteers were administered the vaccine at Bharti Vidyapeeth's Medical College and Hospital, a senior office-bearer of the hospital said. The trial began around 1 pm. "Doctors at the hospital administered the first shot of the 'Covishield' vaccine to a 32-year-old man after his reports of COVID-19 and antibodies tests came out negative," Medical Director of Bharti Vidyapeeth's Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr Sanjay Lalwani, said.
Prepared by Impact Health Research Team
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