New Delhi, Sep 14 : Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that the Centre took up the Covid-19 pandemic challenge with the highest level of political commitment and that its firm decisions prevented approximately 14-29 lakh cases and 37-78 thousand deaths.
Making a suo-motu statement in the Lok Sabha, Dr Harsh Vardhan said the nationwide lockdown, a bold decision, undertaken by Government duly involving community, initiated as self-imposed Junta curfew as per the call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is testimony to the fact that India has collectively stood up to manage Covid-19 and successfully blunted the aggressive progression of the pandemic.
”It has been estimated that this decision prevented approximately 14–29 lakh cases and 37–78 thousand deaths. Further, these four months were utilized to create additional health infrastructure, enhance human resource and produce within India critical elements such as PPEs, N-95 masks and ventilators. A case in point is increase in dedicated isolation beds 36.3 times and dedicated ICU beds above 24.6 times to what existed in March 2020,” he said.
Increasing magnitude of this outbreak in India called for a pre-emptive, pro-active, graded, whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections, save lives and minimize impact, he said.
He said as on September 11, as many as 215 countries worldwide are affected. As per WHO, there are more than 2.79 crore confirmed cases across the world with more than 9.05 lakh deaths, with a case fatality rate of 3.2 per cent.
As on September 11, a total of 45,62,414 confirmed cases and 76,271 deaths with case Fatality Rate 1.67 per cent, have been reported in India.
A total of 35,42,663 , which is 77.65 per cent, cases have recovered. The maximum cases and deaths have been primarily reported from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Odisha, Assam , Kerala & Gujarat.
All these states have reported more than one lakh cases, he said.
”With our endeavor to manage COVID-19 through a whole of government & whole of society approach, India has been able to limit its cases and deaths per million to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population respectively , which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries”.
In India, Dr Vardhan said about 92 India of the cases are reported to be having mild disease. In only about 5.8 per cent of cases where oxygen therapy is required and the disease may be severe enough to require intensive care in only 1.7 per cent cases.
”Whereas there was no indigenous manufacturing of PPE, with the requisite standards, at that point in time, we are now self-sufficient and, in a position, to even export the same,” he said and thanked the Prime Minister, who personally continues to monitor the situation and provided his leadership.
He said the Centre has initiated a series of actions to prevent entry of the disease and to contain it.
”I am daily reviewing the situation. Prime Minister himself has interacted with the Chief Ministers of all states and UT administrations and all stakeholders to regularly understand issues and collaborate with the states for effective Covid management.
”Group of Ministers under my Chairmanship consisting of Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Civil Aviation and Minister of State for Home Affairs, Minister of State for Shipping and Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare have met 20 times since its inception on February 3.”
Committee of Secretaries under Cabinet Secretary has taken regular reviews with all related Ministries of Health, Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Home, Textiles, Pharma, Commerce and other officials including with State Chief Secretaries, he informed.
He further said the Centre has constituted 11 Empowered Groups on 29th March 2020 on different aspects of COVID-19 management in the country to take informed decisions on issues ranging from medical emergency planning, availability of hospitals, isolation and quarantine facility, disease surveillance and testing, ensuring availability of essential medical equipment, augmenting human resource and capacity building and supply chain and logistic management.
Decisions were also taken on coordination with private sector, economic and welfare measures, information, communications and public awareness, technology and data management, public grievance and strategic issues related to lockdown.
These groups have recently been restructured on September 10 based on the need and evolving scenario.
The Health Ministry is constantly reviewing the evolving scenario, he said,
The Government based on its experience of successfully managing pandemics and epidemics in the past, provided the requisite strategy, plans and procedures to the State Governments and UT administrations.
This includes containment plans and guidelines on a wide range of subjects related to travel, behavioral& psycho-social health, surveillance, laboratory support, hospital infrastructure, clinical management, rational use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including inspirational guidance for healthcare personnel.