Covid stabilising in large parts of country but positivity still over 10 pc in 382 districts: Govt

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Updated: May 22, 2021 7:51 PM

On mucormycosis or black fungus, Paul said availability of medicines is being increased. Conditions such as diabetes, weakening of the immune system due to use of steroids, prolonged hospital stay and co-morbidities in COVID-19 may increase mucormycosis infection.

Governments, along with corporate leaders, NGOs, social and religious groups, swung into action arranging medical supplies, setting up temporary hospitals, etc. International aid also came in. India is still not out of woods, but situation has improved.

The Centre said that even though the COVID-19 pandemic is stabilising in large parts of the country, there is still a long way to go to battle this particular wave as the positivity rate is still over 10 per cent in 382 districts.

Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said India was able to come this far in controlling this pandemic through restrictions on social and economic activities and containment and care measures.

“In large parts of the country, the pandemic is stabilising, the positivity rate and active cases are reducing and recovery rate is rising. It is also being seen that an increase is being seen in other states so this is a mixed picture but overall there has been a decrease in case burden but we have a long way to go to handle this wave and we also have to ensure that there should be no laxity in the steps we take,” he said.

“As the situation improves we need to keep ensuring that the chain of transmission remains broken. In 382 districts, the positivity rate is over 10 per cent so there is still a long way to go to battle this particular wave,” he said.

Agarwal said a continuous decline in the COVID-19 active cases has been noted in the last 20 days.

“From 17.13 per cent reported on May 3, the active cases now comprise 11.12 per cent of the country’s total infections. A positive trend in the recovery has also been noted. The recovery rate which was 81.7 per cent on May 3 has increased to 87.76 per cent now,” he said.

Also, the daily recoveries outnumbered daily new cases for ninth consecutive day, he added.

Agarwal said despite consistent increase in daily tests, India’s daily positivity rate has declined from 24.83 per cent recorded on May 10 to 12.45 per cent on May 22.

“Also, a slow but relatively better trend in terms of management is being noted in deaths and most fatalities have been noted in six states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, UP, Punjab, Delhi,” he said.

Agarwal said districts reporting week-on-week increase in tests and decline in case positivity has increased from 210 to 303 districts.

“Eight states have more than one lakh active cases and 18 states have more than 15 per cent positivity rate,” he said.

Talking about vaccine wastage he said, Covishield vaccine wastage reduced from 8 per cent in March 1 to one per cent now while Covaxin wastage decreased from 17 per cent to 4 per cent in the same period.
Paul clarified that lactating women can get vaccinated.

“There were reports that after vaccination mothers should not breast feed their child for a couple of days but I want to clarify that breastfeeding should not be stopped and should be continued and in no situation there is any reason in that context to halt or discontinue breastfeeding even for an hour,” he said.

On COVID-19 prevalence among children, Paul said seropositivity rate between 10-17 years is roughly the same as between 30-40 and children can also spread the infection.

“Whenever children contracted the infection then almost always symptoms are minimal, very mild disease or they are asymptomatic and because it is mild the mortality is very very less in them,” he said.

“We have a protocol of COVID disease among children. Protecting children from infection is equally important so that they do not become part of the transmission chain and the minimum risk which they face that risk they should bear brunt of so COVID appropriate behaviour is applicable in children too specially those who are mobile over 10 years of age,” he said.

On mucormycosis or black fungus, Paul said availability of medicines is being increased. Conditions such as diabetes, weakening of the immune system due to use of steroids, prolonged hospital stay and co-morbidities in COVID-19 may increase mucormycosis infection.

“Steroids is life saving. It is a wonder drug but its irrational use can lead to mucormycosis. So this outbreak does not progress and further harm is not caused, that is our responsibility,” he added.

Responding to a question, Agarwal said the WHO is yet to reach a consensus on the vaccine passport issue which is on allowing international travel for those fully vaccinated against coronavirus infection.

“So far there’s no consensus at the level of WHO over this. Discussion is still being done if vaccinated people will be allowed. As of now, as per WHO guidelines and guidelines by other countries, people with negative COVID test reports are being allowed. This is in discussion and when we will be able to reach a consensus at the world and WHO level then we will take necessary steps,? he said.

He was responding on a question on media reports claiming that people who took COVAXIN jabs may not be allowed to travel internationally as the WHO hasn’t included it in its list of vaccines. The reports were separately denied by the Health ministry on its Twitter handle.

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