- India’s COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 2.10%: Health Ministry
- 82% of the total cases are limited to 10 states and UTs: Health Ministry
- Important for states to analyse COVID-19 data to know the epidemic: ICMR
New Delhi: The coronavirus infection has spread to new areas in the country but 82 per cent of the total cases are still limited to 10 states and Union Territories, the government said on Tuesday, amid a surge in the virus caseload. The COVID-19 case fatality rate has progressively declined to 2.10 per cent, the lowest since the first lockdown was imposed on March 25, while the total number of recovered cases at 12.30 lakh at present is two times the number of active cases, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a media briefing.
Giving a break-up of the mortality rate according to gender, Mr Bhushan said about 68 per cent of COVID-19 deaths were reported among male patients and 32 per cent among female patients in India. In terms of age, he said 50 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in the country took place in the age group of 60 years and above.
About 37 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in India took place in the age group of 45 to 60 years, 11 per cent of deaths were recorded in the age group of 26 to 44 years, one per cent were recorded in the age group of 25 to 18 years and one per cent in the age bracket of less than 17 years, he told reporters.
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The Health Secretary reiterated the need to take special care of senior citizens, noting that the data shows 45-60 years age group is also vulnerable and urged people in that age bracket to follow COVID appropriate behaviour if they have comorbidities.
Coronavirus infection has spread to new areas, but 82 per cent of the total cases are still limited to 10 states and UTs in the country, whereas 50 districts today account for 66 per cent of the COVID-19 caseload in the country, he said.
With the country witnessing a sharp daily spike in cases, Mr Bhushan said there was no need to be “overawed” as, given India’s huge population base, the absolute numbers would be high.
But what is important is that they are detected, isolated and treated on time as that would limit the number of fatalities. That is why testing has to be increased to ensure timely detection of cases, Mr Bhushan said.
India’s COVID-19 tally increased to 18,55,745 with 52,050 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, while the recoveries crossed the 12-lakh mark on Tuesday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.
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The death toll due to COVID-19 climbed to 38,938. On testing being ramped up in India, Dr Balram Bhargava, ICMR Director-General, said a policy of intelligent and calibrated testing is being followed, depending on which areas need more testing.
The states have also been cooperating immensely in testing and we are requesting them to reach up to 10 lakh tests per day,” Dr Bhargava said. There is a need for the states to analyse the data and mount locally specific data-driven response at the state-level and district-level, “what we call as ‘knowing the epidemic’, Bhargava said. Enough data is now available for every state, district and testing laboratory and it will go a long way in tackling the epidemic, he added.
Giving updates on vaccines, Bhargava said the phase-1 human clinical trials of the two COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed indigenously by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and Zydus Cadila Healthcare Limited have been completed and phase 2 trials of both the vaccine candidates have started.
At the present moment, there are three vaccines which are in different phases of clinical testing in India, Dr Bhargava said.
Recombinant Oxford vaccine to be manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune was given approval Monday for Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials which would start within a week at 17 sites, Dr Bhargava said at the briefing.
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He, however, emphasised that till a safe and effective vaccine becomes available, sustained behavioural change, physical distancing, wearing a mask and proper hand hygiene is probably the “best vaccine available”.
In reply to a query on the virus’ mutation, the DG-ICMR stated that no major mutation has occurred in the strain of SARS-COV2 virus. A mutation which results in total change of the virus takes 10 -15 years, he added. India’s COVID-19 case fatality rate has seen a progressive decline from 3.36 pc in the second week of June and then 2.69 pc in the second week of July to its lowest at 2.10 pc as on date, Mr Bhushan said.
This decline is continuing which is a good sign, he said.
Asked if some countries were witnessing a second wave of coronavirus infection. Mr Bhushan said,
Certain countries in the world are witnessing a fresh spate of cases, but I would not call it a second wave as yet.
As for India, he said, the country has been very graded in its response.
We have not gone in for a sudden opening of the various activities. It has been a graded opening, that is accompanied by strong messaging by the Union and state governments about COVID appropriate behaviour, Mr Bhushan said.
Also Read: COVID-19: India’s Testing Rate Lower Than Other Nations, Says WHO Chief Scientist
He, however, said reopening does lead to a spike in numbers in certain areas and stressed that though the state and UT governments are doing their duties, citizens must realise they have an important duty to perform and it was important to maintain COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. The health ministry also informed that about 96 per cent of the 60,000 ventilators being procured are indigenous with most of them being funded by PM-CARES fund. He said 28 states and UTs have a COVID-19 positivity rate of less than 10 per cent, while India’s positivity rate as on date is 8.89 per cent.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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