New Delhi: May 17: As the country reaches the exit of Lockdown 3.0, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare stated that “Our policy perseverance coupled with aggressive and early measures through a strong leadership have shown encouraging results. While the doubling time in the past 14 days was 11.5, it has improved to 13.6 in the last three days”. He added that the fatality rate has fallen to 3.1% and the recovery rate has improved to 37.5%. He also added that (as of yesterday) there are 3.1% active COVID-19 patients in ICU, 0.45% on ventilators and 2.7% on oxygen support.
As on 17th May 2020, a total of 90,927 cases have been reported from the country in which 34,109 persons have been cured and 2,872 deaths had occurred. In the last 24 hours, 4,987 new confirmed cases have been added.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted that the testing capacity has increased in the country to 1,00,000 tests per day through 373 Government laboratories and 152 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 22,79,324 tests have been done so far for COVID-19, whereas, 90,094 samples were tested yesterday. “Today, there are eight States/UTs that have not reported any cases of COVID-19 in last 24 hrs. i.e. A &N Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Chandigarh, Ladakh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Puducherry. Also, Daman & Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have not reported any cases till now”, he stated.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, while speaking on the health infrastructure that was developed for the containment and management of COVID-19 in India, stated that as of now 916 dedicated COVID hospitals with 1,80,473 beds (Isolation beds- 1,61,169 and ICU beds- 19,304) and 2,044 dedicated COVID Health Centres with 1,28,304 beds (Isolation beds- 1,17,775 and ICU beds- 10,529) along with 9,536 quarantine centres and 6,309 COVID Care Centres with 5,64,632 beds are now available to combat COVID-19 in the country. The Centre has provided 90.22 lakh N95 masks and 53.98 lakh Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) to the States/ UTs / Central Institutions, he further added.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that while India sees a return to a New Normal, following simple hygiene measures like washing hands with soap frequently for at least twenty seconds or using alcohol based sanitizers; not spitting in public; sanitize one’s workplace, regularly touched surfaces like table tops; always use face covers in public places to ensure other’s safety along with oneself and ensuring proper respiratory hygiene are a must. He said that physical distancing is the most potent social vaccine available to us and hence it was advisable to ensure ‘Do Gaz ki Doori’ while interacting with others and to limit social gatherings by opting virtual gatherings. He also advised to travel only when absolutely necessary and not to visit crowded places to limit the exposure to infection.
With due precautions, safe handling and preparation of food can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has advised some simple steps that can be followed to ensure food-safety during COVID-19 like washing raw fruits and vegetables in clean potable water; fully cooking the meat; use of different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and cooked food; avoid sharing of food utensils, water bottles or cups; cleaning of surfaces such as tables with antibacterial bleach wipes.
The Union Health Minister expressed his deep gratitude to the selfless services being rendered every day by the Corona Warriors like frontline health workers – doctors, nurses, ANMs, Anganwadi workers as well as the pathologists, lab technicians, scientists and other staff since the beginning of the pandemic. He highlighted that they have been working under tremendous risky conditions in their line of duty, day and night to save the fellow countrymen and hence he emphasized that the nation needs to shun stigma and applaud the contribution of these frontline healthcare providers. He also said that by shunning stigma attached with COVID-19, we encourage people to report symptoms on time which will help in early detection and management of the cases thus improving the recovery rate in the country. He also lauded the dedication and sincerity of all the surveillance officers and encouraged them to continue the fight along with the fellow citizens.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also stated that this fight can only be won with complete cooperation from everyone in the country. Hence he emphasized on the importance of downloading the Aarogya Setu app which helps in self-assessment and provides surveillance of COVID-19 positive cases.
In addition, he warned against falling prey to misinformation, rumours and myths or unfounded claims regarding COVID-19. He advised on following the authentic information available on the websites and twitter handles of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, ICMR, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the Press Information Bureau.