Gods Don’t Want Huge Celebrations: Health Minister on Festivities
“Extraordinary circumstances must draw extraordinary responses,” the health minister said.
With several festivals lined up in coming months, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan cautioned the nation against large gatherings and ostentatious celebrations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In his fifth episode of Sunday Samvaad, his weekly interactive session with the people, the minister said: “Extraordinary circumstances must draw extraordinary responses. No religion or God says that you have to celebrate in an ostentatious way, that you have to visit pandals and temples and mosques to pray.”
He also warned people against the possibility of increased transmission of coronavirus during winters, as virus affecting the respiratory system often spread more in cold-weather conditions.
“These viruses are known to thrive better in the cold weather and low humidity conditions. In view of these, it would not be wrong to assume that the winter season may see increased rates of transmission of the novel coronavirus in the Indian context too.”Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister
The Health Minister also spoke about the expected rollout of the ‘Feluda’ COVID-19 test over the next few weeks, saying that the paper strip test has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for a commercial launch. “While I cannot put an exact date on the availability, we should expect this test within the next few weeks”, he said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also said that based on tests in over 2000 patients during the trials at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and on testing in private labs, the test showed 96 percent sensitivity and 98 percent specificity. This compares favourably to ICMR’s current acceptation criteria of RT-PCR Kit of at least 95 percent sensitivity and at least 99 percent specificity, he stated.
Additionally, Vardhan also revealed that Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Delhi have failed to fully utilise the COVID-19 grant given in the first phase by the central government.
Maharashtra and Chandigarh fared poorest as they could not utilise even half of the total grant provided.
“In phase-1, the Government of India released Rs 3,000 crore to all states and Union Territories (UT)s. Almost all but three state/UTs have utilised the grant given to them to battle COVID-19 pandemic.”Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister
"Maharashtra has utilised 42.5 percent, followed by Chandigarh with 47.8 percent and Delhi with 75.4 percent utilisation of the total funds provided," Vardhan informed.
(With inputs from IANS)
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