Coronavirus mortality rate at 3%, recovery over 20%, says Harsh Vardhan

Health workers collect swab samples from people for COVID -19 tests,in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
India's coronavirus outbreak had a three per cent mortality rate and a 20 per cent recovery rate, said Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday as he credited states for controlling the disease's spread.

Vardhan lauded the states' role in anti-corona fight during a video conference with health ministers of states and Union territories, held to review the anti-Covid-19 preparedness and public health measures taken in the country.

On the issue of rapid antibody tests, he said the results of the test vary from place to place and "it can't be relied upon".

"Moreover, WHO has also not commented on its accuracy. The ICMR is reviewing the efficacy of the test and the kits in its own labs and shall come out with fresh guidelines soon," a Union Heath Ministry statement quoted him as saying.

The video conference saw participation from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka,Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Chandigarh, Andaman and Nicobar, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Uttarakhand.

"The fight against the pandemic is now more than three and half months old and the prevention, containment and management of Covid-19 in the country is being monitored at the highest level in collaboration with the states," he said.

"The mortality rate in the country is three per cent and recovery rate is more than 20 per cent," he said.

Speaking about the surveillance efforts being put in place by the government, he said with proper, graded and guided response, the country is in a situation to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

He further said teams of technical officers have been sent for handholding, reviewing the situation in the states and helping in day to day fight against Covid-19.

While apprising states about the Ordinance promulgated by the President to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to protect medicare workers against violence during epidemics, he said, There is zero tolerance to any form of violence against healthcare service personnel and damage to property of clinical establishments. The amendment makes such acts of violence cognizable and non-bailable offences," he said.

He reviewed the requirement and the adequacy of PPEs, N95 masks, testing kits, drugs and ventilators with each state, and sought to assure them that the government will ensure there is no shortage of supplies of these critical items.

PPEs and N95 masks used to be imported in the country but now we have around 100 manufacturing units which are capable of making them in India itself, he said.

While commending the states' efforts, he said they may also emulate the best practices of each other.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also reviewed the status of dedicated Covid-19 hospitals in the country.

There is a need to establish dedicated Covid-19 hospitals in each district of the country and notify them as soon as possible so that people are informed about them," he said.

Vardhan also exhorted all ministers to ensure that non-Covid patients are not neglected.

While we are providing treatment and care to Covid-19 patients, we also need to ensure treatment for non-Covid-19 patients, who are suffering from critical ailments such as respiratory or heart disease, those requiring dialysis, those that require blood transfusion and pregnant mothers. We should not turn them away on any kind of flimsy pretexts as these critical procedures can't wait, the Union health minister said.

He also stressed upon the states and UTs about the need to promote voluntary blood donation and urged them to keep themselves prepared for other vector-borne diseases such as Malaria, Dengue and TB which should not be ignored in the present circumstances.

He also urged all to download and use the Arogya Setu App as it will enable people to assess the risk of their catching the coronavirus infection.

Once installed in a smartphone, the app can assess the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters, he said.

"We should follow the Lockdown 2.0 in letter and spirit as was done earlier," he stressed while warning states not be too relaxed in their approach during lockdown and maintain the standards.

He gave the example of Uttar Pradesh which is efficiently implementing the Lockdown and advised other states to emulate it.

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