'Livelihood also important': Health Min on economic activities resuming

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that it has adopted a graded approach to unlock the country and open up various economic activities, adding that while lives are important, so is livelihood.

In the fresh guidelines, which came into force on September 1, the government had paved the way for opening up more activities such as resumption of Metro rail and allowing large gatherings.

Addressing a press conference, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, "The government has adopted a graded approach to unlock and to open up various economic activities. The government firmly believes that while lives are important, livelihood is also important."

He, however, emphasised that prior to the graded opening, the government ensured that all prerequisites are in place. "We have ensured that the testing capacity is adequate, clear-cut guidelines on standard clinical treatment protocol and hospital infrastructure is enhanced."

With 83,883 fresh coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, India's tally mounted to 3,853,406 on Thursday, while the death toll climbed to 67,376 with 1,043 more fatalities, said the Health Ministry.

The Health Secretary further informed that Telangana has recorded the highest rate of coronavirus positivity in the health workers at 18 per cent, followed by 16 per cent in Maharashtra, 14 per cent in Delhi, 13 per cent in Karnataka, 12 per cent in Puducherry and 11 per cent in Punjab.

"These are the states where the positivity rate, among the people who are testing positive, is on the higher side. We have drawn the attention of these states and UTs through the Ministry of Home Affairs," he added.

Rajesh Bhushan also alluded to the sudden death in asymptomatic patients and said that it could occur as the virus affects the coagulation system and blood clotting system. "If the clot is formed in the heart or brain, it could lead to heart attack or brain stroke and cause death."

When asked about why the rapid antigen tests are being conducted more than the gold standard RT-PCR, he pointed to the issue of non-uniformity across the country.

"In Tamil Nadu, more than 90 per cent tests are RT-PCR. There are other states where the RT-PCR, TRUENAT and CBNAAT testing capacity is limited. I do admit that there are states where the optimal capacity of RT-PCR, of late, is not being utilised. We have drawn the attention of those states that they need to scale up their RT-PCR testing."



(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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