COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

Dr. Harsh Vardhan chairs 18th meeting of Group of Ministers (GOM) on COVID-19

The 18th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 was held under the chairpersonship of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare by a video-conference, here today. He was joined by Dr. S. Jaishankar, Union Foreign Minister, Shri Hardeep S. Puri, Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare, and Sh. Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State, Chemical and Fertilizers, & Shipping. Dr. Vinod Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog joined the meeting through video conference link. At the outset, the GoM was briefed on the current status of COVID-19 in India. The global comparison between the five most affected countries clearly depicted that India has one of the lowest cases per million (538) and deaths per million (15) compared the global average of 1453 and 68.7, respectively. Within the country, eight states (Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat) contribute to around 90% of the active caseload and 49 districts account for 80% of active caseload, as of today. Moreover, six states (Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) account for 86% of total deaths, and 32 districts account for 80% deaths. 

PM addresses the inaugural session of India Global week; India is playing a leading role in the global revival

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the inaugural session of India Global week via video-conference. Referring to the current times of crisis, the Prime Minister said India would play a leading role in the global revival. He said that this is closely linked with two factors. First is - Indian talent and second is India's ability to reform and rejuvenate. He elaborated that world over, the contribution of India's talent-force is highly recognized, especially the contribution of the Indian tech industry and tech professionals. He described India as a power-house of talent that is eager to contribute. He added that Indians are natural reformers and history has shown that India has overcome every challenge, be it social or economic. He said that when India talks of revival it is: Revival with care, Revival with compassion, Revival which is sustainable - both for the environment and the economy.

National Recovery Rate further improves to 62.09%

In a significant achievement, the number of recovered cases has overshot the number of COVID-19 active cases by 2,06,588. The number of recovered cases is 1.75 times (almost twice) the number of active cases. During the last 24 hours, a total of 19,547 patients have been cured, taking the cumulative figure of recoveries among COVID-19 patients to 4, 76,377 as of today. This is a result of focused attention on effective surveillance through house-to-house contact tracing, early detection, and isolation as well as timely and effective clinical management of COVID-19 cases. Presently, there are 2, 69,789 active cases and all are under active medical supervision. India’s COVID-19 recovery rate is also steadily increasing. The recovery rate among COVID-19 patients has increased to 62.09% today.

Corona virus situation in Delhi shows 'remarkable' improvement: Home Ministry

With a recovery rate of over 72 per cent and doubling rate of nearly 30 days, the COVID-19 situation in the national capital has shown remarkable improvement in recent days, the Union Home Ministry said Thursday. Addressing a press conference, Home Ministry Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said over 6.79 lakh COVID-19 tests, translating into 35,780 tests per million population, have been carried out till July 8 and over 20,000 tests are being conducted every day. "In spite of an increase in daily testing, the active cases in Delhi are under control," she said. Srivastava said as on Thursday there were 23,452 active cases in Delhi.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

India testing over 260,000 samples every day, says ICMR

Over 2.6 lakh samples are being tested for COVID-19 per day, said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday. Addressing a press conference on COVID-19 situation in the country, ICMR Senior scientist Nivedita Gupta said, "The number of tests has increased, on an average, we are testing more than 2.6 lakh of samples per day. We hope to see a further rise by the use of the antigen test". "ICMR has been continuing its efforts to ramp up COVID-19 testing capacity and outreach. TrueNat and CBNAAT tests too have been deployed recently, in addition to RT-PCR. A Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) has been validated and it is being used in containment zones and hospitals," she added. "Private labs can complete accreditation in one month. As of today, a total of 1,132 testing labs are now operational," she said. The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that despite a population of 1.3 billion people, India has been able to manage COVID-19 relatively well and the cases per million of the population in the country remains among the lowest in the world.

India’s Covid-19 deaths per million among lowest globally: Health Ministry

India’s Covid-19 cases and deaths per million populations is still among the lowest in the world, despite being a country with 1.3 billion people, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Thursday. “We are the second-most populous country in the world. Despite a population of 1.3 billion people, India has been able to manage Covid-19 relatively well. If you look at cases per million populations, it still remains amongst the lowest in the world,” Rajesh Bhushan, OSD, Ministry of Health said. Amid a sudden surge in corona virus patients across states over the last few weeks, the country’s viral caseload is an estimated 2, 69,000 people. “When we talk of the caseload of Covid-19 in India, it is 2, 69,000 people. This tells us that at the end of the day we’ve managed a situation where our health care infrastructure is not unduly burdened and is not creaking due to the pressure,” Bhushan said.

India has not yet reached community transmission stage, says Govt

Amid a spurt in corona virus cases, the government on Thursday said India has not yet reached the community transmission stage of COVID-19 and asserted that there have been localised outbreaks in some geographical areas. The Centre's assertion came on a day India registered a record single-day surge of 24,879 COVID-19 cases, taking the caseload to 7, 67,296. The death toll climbed to21, 129 with 487 new fatalities, the updated data at 8 am showed. Asked if India has entered the community transmission phase, Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty in the Union Health ministry said, "Even today, the health minister (Harsh Vardhan) clearly said after the GoM that India has not reached the stage of community transmission. In some geographical areas, there have been localised outbreaks. "We should not forget that in our country, 49 districts alone account for 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases. In a country of more than 733 districts, if 49 districts account for 80 per cent cases, then it is not justified to talk about community transmission," he said at a press briefing.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

What does 'coronavirus is airborne' mean? WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Swaminathan explains

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr. SoumyaSwaminathan said corona virus can survive in air and transmit but "in a very limited environment". Her statement came after a concerning report by a group of scientists from 32 nations who claimed that corona virus was airborne. In an interview to India Today, Dr. Swaminathan explained airborne transmission; she stated that when humans speak, shout, sing or even breathe droplets of different sizes make way into the air. Larger droplets fall within 1-2 metre but smaller droplets of 5 microns don't immediately settle on the ground, she says. Smaller droplets are called aerosols and since they are small in size, they can stay in the air for 10-15 minutes and can be moved around by gusts of winds, Dr. Swaminathan told the channel. Therefore, these particles could be inhaled by other people who are in the vicinity, she added.

Covid-19 brain complications found across the globe: Lancet study

Cases of brain complications linked to COVID-19, like strokes, delirium, and other neurological complications are reported from most countries where there have been large outbreaks of the disease, a new study says according to report. According to the scientists, including those from the University of Liverpool in the UK, COVID-19 has been associated mostly with problems like difficulty breathing, fever, and cough. However, in a review of studies, published in The Lancet Neurology, the researchers said other problems such as confusion, stroke, and inflammation of the brain, spinal cord, and nerve disease can also occur in COVID-19 patients. In the study, the researchers assessed patients hospitalised in the UK for COVID-19, and found a range of neurological and psychiatric complications that may be linked to the disease.

Florida now emerges as one of epicenters of Covid-19 outbreak

Florida, which was once lauded by US President Donald Trump for being a model in managing the corona virus pandemic is now one of the epicentres of the outbreak. While Governor continues to downplay the growing number of cases by saying that high number of testing is responsible for the increase in number of cases, the hospitals are overrun with patients. The Washington Post cited a data by the state's Agency for Health Care Administration stating that 52 intensive care units across more than a third of the state's counties reached its capacity by Tuesday. Beside, 17 hospitals have also run out of regular beds.

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

17 more deaths, over 1,200 fresh Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh reported 17 more deaths and over 1,200 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, taking the state's infection tally to 32,362. So far, 862 deaths have been reported in the state, Additional Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said. The number of active cases has gone up to 10,373, while 21,127 have been discharged from hospitals after recovery, he said. A total of 1,206 fresh cases have been reported since Wednesday. On Wednesday, 32,826 samples were tested in the state, he said, adding that over 10.36 lakh samples have been tested so far.

9 new corona virus cases take Dharavi's tally to 2,347

Nine new cases of corona virus were recorded in Mumbai's slum colony of Dharavi, taking the tally to 2,347 on Thursday, the city civic body said. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has stopped disclosing the number of deaths, if any, in the slum- dominated area since the past few days. With nine new cases of corona virus, Dharavi's count stood at 2,347, a BMC official said. He said Dharavi has only 291 active COVID-19 cases, while 1,815 patients have recovered and discharged from COVID-19 facilities. 

Tripura's Covid-19 tally rises to 1,774 with 57 new cases

Tripura reported 57 fresh cases of COVID-19, raising the state's tally to 1,774, officials said on Thursday. Of the fresh cases, 22 were reported from Gomati district, 10 each from Sepahijala and Tripura West, nine from Khowai, five from Tripura North and one from Tripura South. "Out of 1,839 samples tested for COVID-19, 57 people found positive," Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said in a tweet on Wednesday late evening. According to the officials, returnees from other states have contributed to the spurt in the corona virus cases in Tripura. The state now has 436 active cases, while 1,324 corona virus patients have recovered from the disease.

Industry Updates 

NIMS flooded with volunteering requests for Covaxin trials

The news about clinical trials for Covaxin, a vaccine candidate from India for COVID-19, at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) here, has sparked hope among scores of people who have sent e-mails to or called up officials at the healthcare facility expressing interest to participate in the trials. And not only people from Telangana, people from other States also want to volunteer for the trials. NIMS is among the 12 institutions involved in India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine trials, as listed by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). “People from other States have also expressed interest. The ground work is under way,” media reported quoting sources at the hospital said. NIMS director K. Manohar said that screening of participants is on.


Mphasis Support Magic Bus Covid-19 Relief Efforts

Mphasis F1 Foundation - the CSR arm of Mphasis, an Information Technology (IT) solutions provider specializing in in cloud and cognitive services, announced support of Magic Bus India Foundation to distribute 2,300 dry ration kits to 1,150 households (5,770 people) impacted by COVID-19 in India’s Bengaluru and Hyderabad regions. More than 346,200 meals, representing a months’ supply, will be provided to vulnerable families in Doddananagar, Adugodi, Viveknagar in Bengaluru and across several communities in Hyderabad. The initiative is part of Magic Bus  ongoing fundraising to secure 18 million meals for 57,000 vulnerable families.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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