The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that ten States have almost 77 per cent of the active COVID-19 caseload of the country with Maharashtra and Kerala contributing almost 33 per cent of the overall actives cases.
It said that most of the countries across the world are observing resurgence of COVID cases and given the size and density of population in India, the country has done remarkably well in restricting the spread.
The Centre pointed out that as on November 24, India stands at 9.2 million COVID cases, with over 0.44 million active cases, which make up only 4.75 per cent of the current cumulative cases.
“Our recovery rate has gone up to 93.76 per cent, with almost 8.6 million recoveries made. The average cases per day have reduced by 50 per cent since the past 8 weeks. Currently, only 2 two states have more than 50,000 cases and they contribute to almost 33 per cent of the overall active cases,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its affidavit.
It said that the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of India remains low at 1.46 per cent, when compared to the global average of 2.36 per cent and stands at a total death count of 0.13 million. The Centre said that the government will continue making efforts to bring CFR down to less than one per cent and accelerate efforts in reducing the positivity rate, which currently stands at 6.9 per cent.
“The 10 States contribute almost 77% of the active case load for the country. These are: Maharashtra (18.9%), Kerala (14.7%), Delhi (8.5%), West Bengal (5.7%), Karnataka (5.6%), Uttar Pradesh (5.4%), Rajasthan (5.5%), Chhattisgarh (5.0%), Haryana (4.7%) and Andhra Pradesh (3.1%),” the Centre said.
It said that India is now testing on an average, almost 1.1 million samples daily and this has been a remarkable increase from 6 thousand tests daily at the start of April.
“We are further trying to reduce the spread with the use of digital innovations such as Arogya Setu/ITIHAS to predict emerging hotspots and they are also aiding contact tracing efforts. Our efforts are also directed towards managing COVID, non-COVID health facilities should also be effectively managed – these include: immunization, maternal and child health services, cancer, dialysis, etc,” it added.
The Centre’s 170-page affidavit filed before the top court added that given the ferocity with which the disease had spread, countries have been compelled to take drastic measures which have affected almost every facet of life and India was no exception to the same.
“However, India looked at the challenges imposed by the pandemic as a unique opportunity to demonstrate its self-reliance in areas like manufacturing of critical medical equipment, use of information technology etc. In order to become self-sufficient or “Atma-nirbhar” in all our capacities and enhance our healthcare preparedness, India also worked to boost domestic production and expand our healthcare workforce,” it said.
Giving the statistics of various steps taken, the government said that as on November 23, 2020, a total of 24, 17, 085 passengers and crew members have been screened at the airports.
It said that the laboratory network is continuously being strengthened and as of November 23, 2020, total operational (initiated independent testing) government laboratories reporting to ICMR is 1166 and in addition, 968 private laboratories have been approved for COVID-19 testing.
It added that adequate laboratory reagents are available with ICMR and a total of 133.8 million (13.38 Crore) samples have been tested as on November 23, 2020.
“It is submitted that as on November 24, 2020, a total of 15,454 dedicated COVID treatment facilities with 1,54,6983 dedicated isolation beds (including 2, 67, 886 oxygen supported beds) have been identified. Also, a total of 79,005 ICU beds (including 40,183 ventilator beds) have been earmarked in these facilities”, it said.
Regarding development of drugs and vaccines, the government said that the principal scientific advisor to the Government of India has constituted a core group on COVID-19 and “thirteen clinical trials of repurposed drugs have been undertaken to build a portfolio of therapeutic options for Covid-19 patients”.
“It is submitted that nearly 30 vaccine candidates encompassing a diverse group of vaccines based on multiple technologies / platforms are under development in India, by both academia and industry,” it said.
The government submitted that five candidates are in the clinical trial stage, of which two vaccines are in Phase III trials and three are in phase II trials.
“A National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 has been constituted on August 7, 2020, under Member (Health), NITI Ayog, which is working round the clock to ensure that vaccines are developed and introduced for public administration at the earliest and at affordable price,” it said.
Dealing with logistics, the Centre informed the top court that total orders for 1.92 Crore Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) have been placed by it so far and States/UTs and Central Government institutions are being supported in terms of supply of logistics.
“So far 1.62 Crore of PPE Kits, 3.89 crores N-95 masks, 11.16 crore tablets of Hydroxychloroquine, 34,279 ventilators and 1,02,400 oxygen cylinders have been supplied to States/UTs/ Central Government hospitals so far. In addition, oxygen concentrators are also being supplied to States,” it said.