New Delhi: The COVID-19 virus got mutated 223 times in the world and its harmful effects have come down substantially over time, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in Lok Sabha on Friday (February 9). He also said that COVID-19 will continue to remain like influenza and its present variants are not deadly. “When a virus gets mutated more than 100 times, its harmful effects get reduced. Covid also got mutated. So far, the Covid virus got mutated 223 times,” he said during the Question Hour.
He said that like influenza, which hits people once or twice every year, “Covid is with us and it will remain”. He said,
Covid sub-variants are not that deadly and there are no negative effects.
Mr Mandaviya said health is such an issue where all stake holders and countries should come together and work. He said,
We have seen the positive results during the pandemic when we all worked together.
The minister said India has a robust medicine production infrastructure and the world has recognised this. “We are now the producer of 70 per cent of HIV/AIDS medicines of the world. Similarly, we produce many medicines which the world considers as good,” he said.
Speaker Om Birla also commented that when he was travelling in Africa, he had witnessed the demands of Indian medicines and people’s admiration for it due to its effects.
Mr Mandaviya said that due to the Ayushman Bharat scheme, under which free medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh is provided to the poor, 13 crore people got benefited as they have gone above the poverty level since they did not have to spend money for treatment.
Similar, during the tenure of the previous government, 5.5 crore people came under the poverty line as they had to spend a large amount of money for medical care, he said.
The minister said the Modi government is now spending 1.35 per cent of the GDP in comparison to 1.13 per cent spent by the earlier government.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.