COVID Situation From Bad to Worse, Huge Cause of Worry: Centre
More cases will eventually overwhelm the healthcare system, warned the Centre.
India’s COVID-19 situation is turning from bad to worse, warned NITI Aayog member Vinod Kumar Paul. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, 30 March, Paul stated that the surge of infections across states is a “huge cause for worry”, since more cases will eventually overwhelm the healthcare system.
Paul, who is the chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, observed on Tuesday that no states should be complacent as the virus is still very active, and “just when we think we can control it, it sparks back”.
He reiterated that contact tracing, quarantine, isolation and similar precautionary measures is essential to contain the virus, since masks and social distancing can provide 70% protection.
The daily death toll is now four times what it was, from 73 to 271, and the virus needs to be eliminated, noted Paul. He recommended the optimal use of all private healthcare facilities, with mandatory adequate space for waiting, vaccination and observation room, as well as adequate vaccinators and a cold chain storage, reported NDTV.
Paul reiterated that the healthcare institutions must have facilities to address any adverse side-effects to the vaccine.
When asked about whether an Indian mutation strain of COVID exists, Paul stated, "There is a concept of virus shift drift and shift. There is no such thing as an Indian strain. It is not a cause to panic", quoted NDTV.
Paul added that the COVID mutation strains are not significant since they are sporadic, and so far, the presence of foreign mutant variants is low.
Since December, out of 11,000 samples that underwent genome sequencing, 807 were the UK variant, 47 South African variant and one was the Brazilian strain, said the Health Ministry.
Covaxin and Covishield are effective against the UK and Brazilian variants, whereas there is ongoing work towards the South African variant, added the report.
On Tuesday, India reported 56,000 new COVID cases, taking the total caseload to 5.5 lakh. Encouraging people above 45 years to get vaccinated in large numbers, so far, the Centre has administered 6.11 lakh vaccine doses.
The Health Ministry listed 10-most affected districts in India with the highest number of COVID cases, with eight districts from Maharashtra, one is Bengaluru and Delhi.
"Punjab is neither doing adequate number of tests, nor is isolating infected people properly. Maharashtra has 3.37 lakh active cases. Death has increased from 32 in Feb to 118 now. Karnataka needs to improve testing and isolation," VK Paul said, as reported by NDTV.
The Health Ministry recommended all 47 districts to increase RT-PCR testing significantly towards effective tracing of potential and affected cases. The Ministry noted that seven more COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently in various stages of clinical trials.
(With inputs from NDTV)
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