The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Thursday, 9 September, held a press briefing on the current COVID-19 situation in India, with Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan saying that the nation is still grappling with the second wave of the pandemic.
The minister said that there were 43,263 cases reported in the last 24 hours, with over 32,000 from Kerala. Last week, almost 68 percent of the total cases were recorded in Kerala.
"Overall declining trend is a little less than 50 percent, which was there in the first wave. We are still witnessing a second surge, it's not over," the health secretary said, news agency ANI reported.
'Increase Pace of Vaccinations Ahead of Festivals'
Speaking on the ongoing vaccination drive in the country, the minister added, "The pace of vaccination and coverage is rapidly increasing. The average per-day dose administered has increased from 20 lakh in May to 78 lakh in September. This number is expected to climb even higher."
As per health ministry data, more vaccines have been administered in the first seven days of September than in 30 days of May.
However, Bhushan stressed that the inoculation drive will need to be sped up amid Ganesh Chaturthi and ahead of festivals such as Eid and Diwali.
"86 lakh doses were administered in the last 24 hours. We should increase pace of vaccination before festivals. States and Centre should work to vaccinate the vulnerable population," he stated, ANI reported.
Reiterating this view, Dr Balram Bhargava from ICMR said, "Low-key celebrations of festivals should be encouraged to avoid the spread. Responsible travel rather than revenge travel should be practiced," ANI reported.
58% of All Eligible Given 1st Dose, 78 Cr Doses Administered
DR VK Paul, the member of health for NITI Ayog said that 58 percent of people above 18 years have been administered the first dose of the vaccine.
Adding that it's evident that two doses offer complete protection from the virus, he stated, "58 percent above 18 years have been given single dose, it should be 100 percent. No one should be left behind. About 72 crore vaccine doses have been given, those left should get administered to develop herd immunity."
Speaking on resuming offline school, Dr Paul said that inoculating children is not a necessary precondition for reopening education centres.
"Vaccinating children is not a condition for reopening schools. This criterion is not acceptable anywhere in the world, no scientific body, epidemiological evidence suggests it as a condition. However, vaccination of staff is desirable," he stated, ANI reported.
(with inputs from ANI)