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98% of India still at risk, only 1.8% had been affected by Covid 19: Health Ministry

Over 98% of India’s population continues to be vulnerable or susceptible to COVID-19, said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, on Tuesday, adding that so far only 1.8% of the total population of the country had been affected.

“Despite the high number of COVID cases reported so far, we have been able to contain the spread to under 2% of the population. But with the majority still vulnerable, we cannot let our guard down and hence continued focus on containment is critical. The virus hasn’t got tired so we don’t have the option to relax just yet,” he said.

Giving figures from around the world, he said 10.1 per cent of the population in the US has been infected so far, 7.3 per cent in Brazil, 9 per cent in France and 7.4 per cent in Italy.

Mr. Agarwal said that from the 17.13% of the total COVID-19 caseload reported on May 3, India’s current status stands at a reduced 13.3%

“Currently, eight States have more than 1 lakh active COVID-19 cases and 22 States have more than 15% case positivity. Maharashtra, U.P., Delhi, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have shown a decline in COVID-19 cases and a decline in positivity. There are 199 districts showing a continued decline in COVID-19 cases and positivity in the last two weeks,” he said

Addressing media, NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said in many states the pandemic curve is stabilising.

“Comprehensive efforts at containment and testing are resulting in stabilisation. We still have a few states which continue to be cause of concern… there is a mixed picture but overall there is stabilisation and what we know from scientific analysis is the reproduction number is below 1 now which means the pandemic is shrinking,” Paul said.

He said this has happened because there is a huge containment effort in addition to managing the cases in home settings and hospitals.

“We are hoping and keeping the case fatality rate reasonably under control. We have to be very mindful that when we are achieving a declining positivity rate it is because of the results of what we are doing and that doing cannot be slackened. We cannot again let this go out of hand,” he said.

About Black Fungus

About cases of black fungus, Paul said till now the number is not that high but it cannot be taken for granted.

“We have held discussions with all states on black fungus and there is a push on availability of Amphotericin B and till now the number is not that high but we cannot take it for granted. There are a large number of cases through which we have learnt that when a combination of diabetes, an uncontrolled one, particularly in COVID and steroid use comes up then the likelihood of this disease becomes a possibility. So whoever has diabetes should try to keep it in control,” he said.

He stressed on rational use of medication. “We reiterate that proper use of steroids has to be done and we must not take it lightly,” he said.

About trials for children 

In COVID infection in children, Paul said it was seen that children were affected and they are asymptomatic.

“So response remains the same of what we do, we have to protect ourselves with COVID appropriate behaviour and they have to be encouraged to wear masks and main social distancing. There is a clear cut science-driven protocol already available. If COVID symptoms are seen in children then that should be followed. Severe disease in children is uncommon but we have a protocol for that too,” he said.

He said COVAXIN is also conducting a trial and it will begin in 10–12 days.

“Science’s attention is on it and children can have an asymptomatic infection and they can also spread it. We have reasonable clarity on it,” he added.

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