Coronavirus unlock | Health Ministry draws up SoPs for Parliament, Assembly sessions

Health Ministry is developing SOPs for Parliament and the Legislative Assembly sessions comprising COVID-19 protocols and preventive measures, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said while chairing the 20th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19, here on Saturday.

The GOM also expressed concern about the forthcoming festival seasons and advised everyone to adopt safe and COVID appropriate behaviour.

Participating in the meeting, Vinod K. Paul, chairperson of the Empowered Group-1 on medical emergency management plan apprised the GoM of the process of COVID vaccine development in India and around the world.

He said the 29 candidates, including two Indian ones, are in clinical trials, of which six are in Phase III.

According to a release issued by the Ministry, Dr. Paul said in India, Bharat Biotech’s vaccine candidate based on inactivated virus procured by ICMR is in Phase II trial along with Zydus Cadila’s candidate which is based on viral DNA. The Oxford vaccine candidate developed by Serum Institute of India is already in Phase III trial in Maharashtra and some other states.

Meanwhile the Health Minister, Dr. Vardhan said that in the month since the last meeting of GoM on July 31, the country has made tremendous strides in containing the disease.

“As many as 26.4 lakh have already recovered. The country’s case fatality rate is at its lowest 1.81% and consecutively the recovery rate has increased to 76.47%. Also, only 0.29% of cases are on ventilators, 1.93% on ICU and only 2.88% of cases are on oxygen. A total of 1,576 labs at present have led to an upsurge in testing and the goal of 10 lakh tests per day has been fulfilled. More than 9 lakh samples were tested in the last 24 hours and this has led to the cumulative total number of tests crossing the 4 crore mark,” said Dr. Vardhan.

The GOM was informed that more than 338 lakhs of N-95 masks, nearly 135 lakh of PPEs and about 27,000 ventilators have been provided by the centre to the States/UTs.

The GoM was also informed that within the country — eight States (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana — contribute to around 73% of the active caseload currently.

“Moreover, seven States (Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) account for 81% of total deaths. The GoM was briefed on the guidance note issued on the bi-directional TB and COVID screening, diabetes management in COVID facilities, etc., and the meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary with the States where they were advised to ramp up testing and measures were suggested to contain the spread and reduce mortality below 1%,’’ said the release issued by the Ministry.

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