Saturday, April 25, 2020

India records lowest daily growth rate in COVID-19 cases

The number of coronavirus cases in India increased by six per cent during a 24-hour period beginning 8 am on Friday, marking the lowest daily growth rate of the infection since the total positive cases crossed 100 in mid-March, government sources said.

IMAGE: A medic checks the temperature of a passenger at a bus stand, during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, in Assam's Nagaon. Photograph: PTI Photo

After a Group of Ministers carried out a comprehensive review of the nation-wide response mechanism to the pandemic, the health ministry said the recovery rate of more than 20 per cent in India is comparatively better than most of the countries globally.
The total number of people infected with the virus stood at 24,942 while the death toll rose to 779 which included 56 since Friday, the ministry said in its evening update of nation-wide data.
It said the total of 56 deaths is maximum reported in the country in a span of 24 hours.

In a statement, the ministry said the GoM headed by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the testing strategy as well as availability of testing kits across the country along with policy for cluster management and checking the infection in "hotspots".

"The GoM was apprised that as of now the death rate is around 3.1 per cent while recovery rate is more than 20 per cent, which is comparatively better than most of the countries and may be taken as a positive effect of the lockdown along with the cluster management and containment strategy," it said.

It said average doubling rate of the cases in the country has been estimated at 9.1 days as of now. On Friday, an official put the figure at 10 days from 7.5 reported earlier this week.

Government sources said the country recorded a six per cent growth in new cases between 8 am on Friday to 8 am on Saturday, adding it was the lowest daily growth rate recorded since India crossed 100 cases.

About ramping up availability of key medical equipment, the ministry said over 100,000 personal protective equipment and N95 masks are being manufactured daily in the country. A total of 104 firms are manufacturing PPEs, while three other entities are producing N95 masks.

It said production of ventilators through domestic manufacturers has also started and that orders have been placed for procuring over 59,000 units from nine manufacturers.

The ministry said the GoM was informed that around 92,000 NGOs, self-help-groups and civil society organisations are providing food to the migrant workers across various states and union territories, adding the non-profit organisations are being supported by the states as well as by Food Corporation of India.

A detailed presentation on the status of COVID-19 in the country along with the response and management of it was made before the GoM.

"The GoM was informed that all districts have been asked to follow and further strengthen their contingency plans to combat COVID-19. The GOM was briefed on the state-wise details of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals along with the adequacy of isolation beds/wards, PPEs, N95 masks, drugs, ventilators, oxygen cylinders etc," the ministry said.

It was also apprised about creation of a national level meta-data of health workers, doctors, members of National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme and sharing of the details with all the states, districts and other agencies to mobilise required manpower to fight the pandemic.

"There is presently data for more than 1.24 crore human resources on the dashboard and it is continuously being updated with addition of new groups and sub groups as per specialisation. The dashboard contains state and district wise information about the number of human resources available from each group along with the contact details," the ministry said.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Minister of State for Home Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant were among those present at the meeting of the GoM.

Meanwhile, official sources said the Indian Council of Medical Research asked the states and union territories to put on hold the use of COVID-19 rapid antibody test kits till it examines their accuracy.

The ICMR is analysing the effectiveness of the rapid antibody test kits, procured from two Chinese firms.

Vardhan had on Friday said the results of the test kits vary from place to place and "they can't be relied upon".

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