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Lockdown prevented up to 29 lakh covid cases, 78,000 deaths: Harsh Vardhan

India has been able to limit its cases and deaths to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population, which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries, says Union Health Minister


NEW DELHI: The decision to impose nationwide lockdown prevented 14-29 lakh covid-19 cases and 37,000-78,000 deaths in India, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan told Parliament on Monday.

“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," said Harsh Vardhan regarding the government’s steps to deal with covid-19 pandemic.

In India, about 92% of the cases are reported to be having mild disease, he said, adding "In only about 5.8% of cases where oxygen therapy is required and the disease may be severe enough to require intensive care in only 1.7% cases."

The health minister said as on 11 September, a total of 45,62,414 confirmed cases and 76,271 deaths with case fatality rate of 1.67% have been reported in India.

As many as 35,42,663 (77.65%) cases have recovered. The maximum cases and deaths have been reported from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Odisha, Assam, Kerala and Gujarat. All these States have reported more than one lakh cases, he said.

The government has been continuing with the community surveillance that was initiated initially for travel related cases and subsequently for cases being reported from community by Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).

“As on 11thSeptember, a total of about 40 lakh persons have been kept under surveillance and extensive contact tracing of all positive cases is regularly being undertaken through disease surveillance network so as to break the chain of transmission," said Harsh Vardhan adding that total of 12,826 quarantine centres with 5,98,811 beds have been created.

“We have now moved from ‘managing travel related cases’ to containing clusters and large outbreaks due to local transmission to wide spread of infection to urban, peri-urban and rural areas. This would require concerted effort by the Government with people’s participation to prevent large scale morbidity and mortality," he said.

The health minister said 13 clinical trials of repurposed drugs and harnessing of traditional knowledge using the modern medicine approach are building a portfolio of therapeutic options for covid-19 patients.

“Phase 2 clinical trial of immunomodulator Sepsivac has been completed successfully. Phase 2 clinical trial of the first-ever phytopharmaceutical ACQH is underway. One prophylactic trial of aswagandha and three trials of guduchi + pippali; yashtimadhu; and polyherbal AYUSH drug are planned on moderately ill Covid19 patients," he said.

The health minister also said that globally, there are around 145 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation and currently 35 vaccines in clinical trial. In India, a major focus has been on facilitating the development of covid-19 vaccine. More than 30 vaccine candidates have been supported which are in different stages of development. Three candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I/II/III trials and more than four in advanced pre-clinical development stage, he told Parliament.

The minister said that the government is proactively identifying gaps and building an Atmanirbhar Bharat that will be able to take challenges of similar pandemics, epidemics and disasters in future.

“An Expenditure Finance Memorandum of Rs. 65,560.98 Crores under Prime Minister Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana for strengthening is under consideration. This includes investment in research, healthcare and public health infrastructure with particular focus on pandemic management" he said.