Covid-19 vaccine would be available to all priority population groups

Strengthening cold chain capabilities

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Vaccine

More than 79 lakh Covid-19 patients have recovered in India. This happens to be the highest number of recoveries in the world. In the last week itself, on an average, 51,476 cases recovered daily. This apart, more than 11.96 crore tests were conducted so far, and, on average, 11,18,072 tests were conducted daily in the last week. The cumulative positivity rate, which is still decreasing, now stands at 7.18%, while the daily positivity rate in the last week was 4.2%. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has informed this in a press briefing on the actions taken, preparedness, and updates on Covid-19, held at the National Media Centre in New Delhi on 10 November 2020.

Bhushan further informed that India still figures amongst the countries having the lowest cases per million population. While the world average of cases per million is 6439, India has 6225 cases per million. While the world recorded 482 new cases per million population in the last seven days, it was 235 new cases per million population for India in the same period. Similarly, while there were seven deaths per million population in the whole world last week, India saw three deaths per million population in the bygone week. India still has one of the lowest counts of 92 deaths per million population, while the world average is 160 deaths per million. This apart, the number of active cases has gone below 6% in the country, while the recovery rate is more than 92%.

The health secretary further informed that 54% of new cases had been reported in 6 States and UTs in the last 24 hours, with Delhi reporting the highest of 5023 new cases, followed by West Bengal reporting 3907 and then Kerala reporting 3593 new cases. Maharashtra reported 3277 new cases, Haryana reported 2427 new cases, and Tamil Nadu reported 2257 new cases in the last 24 hours. This apart, 62% of new deaths have also been reported from 6 states and UTs in the last 24 hours: Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and Punjab. Maharashtra has reported the highest 85 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Stating this factual information on Covid-19 in the country, the health secretary reiterated and appealed that everyone should be cautious in the ongoing festival season and always wear face-cover or mask properly, maintain 6 feet distance from others and wash hands with soap and water frequently.

In reply to a media query, he informed that on 10 November, national figures show that 46% were RT-PCR tests, and 49% were Rapid Antigen Tests, while 55 tests were carried out using TRUENAT and CBNAAT.

In reply to a query on the increasing number of Delhi cases, DG-ICMR Balaram Bhargava replied, factors such as pollution, cold weather, festivals, wedding season, apart from travels in Delhi- NCR, are leading to gatherings. A third spike has come now in Delhi after the first two spikes in June and September, which is showing more cases than before, he further added.

In reply to a query on vaccine administration, health secretary stated, “Whenever regulatory approval for vaccines are provided, we have a plan which would ensure that vaccines would be available to all priority population groups, irrespective of the region where they reside.” health secretary also said, “We are in a position to not only augment and strengthen, but also add to our cold chain capabilities.” Any large scale immunization would require a substantial increase in the number of cold chain points and a substantial increase in the number of cold chain equipment, he added.

In reply to another query, health secretary stated, central teams, have gone to all the states, including Bihar, where elections pr bye-elections are being held. The reports given by the central teams on the practice of Covid appropriate behaviors in those states have been shared with the state governments to draw their attention for follow-up actions. The states did initiate action to rectify the defects, he added and further said, the Health Ministry is keeping a watch on the development of Covid situations in various states.

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