COVID-19 updates: Centre warns against laxity as Andhra Pradesh, Tripura ease curbs; India logs 62,480 new cases-Health News , Firstpost

Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said India had 27,142 active cases of Mucormycosis on 16 June and if the number rises, the country is prepared to increase the availability of Amphotericin B and other drugs used in the treatment of the disease

The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday extended the COVID-19 curfew in the state till 30 June with a four-hour relaxation in timings while in Tripura, the curfew was extended in Agartala and 11 other urban local bodies (ULBs) till 25 June. And as uncloking of more activities continued, the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan warned people against showing laxity towards COVID-19 guidelines, including wearing masks.

He also said laxity in following COVID appropriate behaviour, people letting their guard down and the virus mutating snowballed into the second wave.

“With many corners of India gradually moving towards unlocking from the second wave, we cannot afford laxity and any further increase in cases again,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said adding that masks are the simplest, most potent and the most powerful weapon against all variants of the coronavirus .

Meanwhile, the Assam government cancelled this year’s Class 10 and Class 12 state board examinations in light of the coronavirus situation.

These announcements came on a day when India recorded 62,480 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases to 2,97,62,793 while the toll rose to 3,83,490 with 1,587 fresh fatalities, the lowest in 61 days.

With a decline of 28,084, active cases fell to  7,98,656 comprising 2.68 percent of the total infections while the recovery rate improved to 96.03 percent, according to the Union health ministry’s data. The active cases went below 8 lakh after 73 days.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 3.24 percent and has been less than 5 percent for 11 consecutive days, the ministry said, adding the weekly positivity rate has declined to 3.80 percent.

Over 27 crore vaccine doses administered, says health ministry

In a press briefing on the COVID-19 situation, Joint Secretary in the Union health Ministry Lav Agarwal said a decline of almost 85 percent has been noted in daily new cases of COVID-19 since the highest reported peak on 7 May.

Also, 78.6 percent decline has been recorded in the total active cases since the peak reported on 10 May.

“There has been a sharp decline of 81 percent in weekly COVID-19 case positivity rate since the highest reported weekly positivity of 21.6 percent recorded between 30 April and 6 May. The number of districts reporting less than 5 percent positivity has increased from 103 (30 April to 6 May) to 513 (11 to 17 June),” Agarwal said.

The cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 27 crores, he said.

NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul said studies among healthcare workers have shown that after vaccination, the chances of hospitalisation reduce by 75-80 percent while the possibility of oxygen requirement comes down to eight percent even after contracting COVID-19 .

“Lives of thousands of healthcare workers have been saved by vaccination. Studies show that chances of hospitalisation reduce by 75-80 percent after vaccination if they contract COVID-19 . The possibility of oxygen requirement is around eight percent and the risk of ICU admission is only six percent. The protection is 94 percent. These are reasonable sample-sized studies and they have been conducted in age groups where maximum risk is there,” he said.

Paul said that in one particular study, there was one death out of 7,000 cases and it was also because the person had comorbidities, he said while urging people to not hesitate and get themselves vaccinated.

Paul also spoke about the new guidelines for vaccination which will be implemented from 21 June. Under these, 75 percent of vaccines will be procured by the Centre and distributed free of cost to states and the role of the private sector in the procurement of 25 percent is “well defined”, he said.

“I want to emphasise the fact that private sector engagement is critical to the success of vaccination programme to reach the possible number of people, and we value that, and in the present guidelines this system has been streamlined as a partnership in which state governments play a facilitatory role of aggregation and ensuring spread and large and small hospital participation,” Paul said.

Speaking about the WHO-AIIMS serosurvey in the health briefing, Paul said it shows that seropositivity above and below 18 years of age is almost equivalent.

Overall, it was seen that children contracted the infection but it remained mild among them and children might not get affected in isolation in the next wave, but preparations have been stepped up in case the virus changes its behaviour, he further said.

Asked about the reopening of schools, he said that several factors have to be kept in mind like there are teachers, helpers and also the aspect of social distancing reducing.

“…As we get more information so we can take the necessary steps but this must be kept in mind that in other countries schools reopened and then there were outbreaks. We cannot put our students and teachers in this situation till we have more confidence that the pandemic will not harm us,” he said.

Assam cancels Class 10, 12 board exams

Given the COVID-19 situation in Assam, state education minister Ranoj Pegu said that the matric and higher secondary examinations for 2021 have been cancelled. He said that the positivity rate due to the prevailing COVID situation is yet to be brought under control.

Two committees will be constituted for Class 10 and Class 12 on Saturday to suggest a formula for preparing the results and they will submit their reports within a week.

“The results will be record-based and not subjective. They will be based on records available with the schools and the boards,” Pegu said, adding that the results of both matric and higher secondary exams will be declared by 31 July.

Tripura, AP extend curfew

In Tripura,  a notification issued by state chief secretary Kumar Alok said the COVID curfew will remain in force in the jurisdiction of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC), in the municipal councils of Mohanpur, Ranirbazar, Udaipur, Bishalgarh, Kumarghat, Kailashahar, Panisagar, Khowai, Belonia and Santirbazar, besides Jirania Nagar Panchayat from 19 to 25 June.

However, the night curfew from 6 pm to 5 am has been lifted from the villages.

As per the notification, all standalone shops and commercial establishments shall remain open only between 6 am and 2 pm with strict adherence to COVID guidelines. Shopping malls and market complexes will remain closed at all times and bazaar committees shall deploy volunteers to ensure strict adherence to social distancing.

Vehicles can only ply between 5 am and 2 pm for essential purposes but vehicles ferrying medical supplies will be allowed to ply even after 2 pm. The movement of individuals between 2 pm and 5 am will be banned except for prescribed exemptions.

All government and private offices shall remain open till 4 pm with 50 percent attendance. Social, political, religious, academic or other gatherings shall be prohibited. Only essential government meetings with a maximum of 20 participants will be allowed.

Movie theatres, multiplexes, gymnasiums, swimming pools, salons and bars shall remain closed at all times. Restaurants shall remain open only till 2 pm.

In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister  YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at a high-level review meeting announced that curfew will be in force from 6 pm to 6 am daily from 21 to 30 June.

A CMO release said all shops and business establishments will have to be shut by 5 pm daily.  Government offices will function normally from 21 June and staff have been directed to attend work as per the revised schedule.

In the East Godavari district, which has still been reporting a higher number of coronavirus cases, the curfew will be in force from 2 pm to 6 am.

Mask most potent weapon against all variants, stresses Vardhan

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan Friday warned against laxity with unlocking taking place in many areas.  At an event for distributing masks among frontline workers at the Union health ministry, he said, “With many corners of India gradually moving towards unlocking from the second wave, we cannot afford laxity and any further increase in cases again.”

Vardhan also appealed to people to get themselves vaccinated and emphasised that masks are the simplest, most potent and the most powerful weapon against all variants of the coronavirus .

He also said laxity in following COVID appropriate behaviour, people letting their guard down and the virus mutating snowballed into the second wave.

“The government worked round the clock to stop COVID-19 last year. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, we were immensely successful in decreasing the active caseload to a minimum. However, with the arrival of vaccines early this year and things returning to normal, people gradually invited laxity in their adherence to the simple code of Covid appropriate behaviour. While the virus mutated and evolved, we let our guard down. All this compounded in the spike in cases, snowballing into the second wave,” Vardhan was quoted as saying in a health ministry statement.


‘Ensure strict implementation of Epidemic Disease Act’

Meanwhile, news agency PTI reported that the Union health ministry has urged all states and Union Territories to review in detail and ensure prompt steps for the safety and wellbeing of healthcare workers while strictly implementing the amended Epidemic Disease Act.

Healthcare workers are the most crucial resources in COVID-19 management on all fronts, said Agarwal in a letter to additional chief secretaries, principal secretaries and health secretaries of all states and UTs.

On multiple occasions, the health ministry has highlighted the need to ensure the safety and security of healthcare workers at their living and working premises, he said.

“Our endeavours to manage COVID-19 are replete with examples of commitment by our healthcare workers at all levels. While the country at large has applauded the efforts of the health fraternity, there were examples of them being stigmatized and even violence resorted to against healthcare workers,” the officer pointed out.

Recently, there have been reports of physical violence against doctors, healthcare workers and other professionals particularly from Assam, West Bengal and Karnataka, the letter by Agarwal stated.

“Such incidents impact the morale of our healthcare workforce who have shown exemplary commitment against all odds in COVID-19 management.

On Friday, doctors participated in a nationwide protest called by the Indian Medical Association over the recent incidents of violence against healthcare professionals and for demanding a Central law to curb such cases.

As many as 3.5 lakh doctors, with proper Covid protocol, participated in the agitation, the IMA said.

The IMA and its branches also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to ensure the safety of the medical fraternity and also take appropriate action against people involved in spreading fake news against COVID-19 vaccination and its protocol.

India had 27,142 active Mucormycosis cases on 16 June

Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said India had 27,142 active cases of Mucormycosis on 16 June and if the number rises, the country is prepared to increase the availability of Amphotericin B and other drugs used in the treatment of the disease.

The Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers in a series of tweets noted that domestic production of Amphotericin B has already increased five-folds so far.

“Domestic production of Liposomal Amphotericin B was just 62,000 vials in April 2021 and now it is expected to cross 3.75 lakh vials in June 2021,” Mandaviya said.

While increasing the domestic production, the government has also placed an order to import 9,05,000 Liposomal Amphotericin B vials, he added.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals has allocated total 7,28,045 vials of Liposomal Amphotericin B to all the states and central institutions till 17 June, 2021, he added.

Modi launched customised crash course

Also on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a customised crash course programme that aims to skill and upskill over one lakh “Covid warriors” across the country and said the nation needs to stay prepared as the danger of coronavirus and the possibility of its mutation remain present.

Modi said the second wave of the pandemic has highlighted the challenges the virus can throw up, and the training of more than one lakh frontline warriors is a step in that direction. “We have to further enhance the preparedness of the country to meet the challenges ahead,” Modi asserted.

With the country witnessing a shortage of medical oxygen during the recent surge in Covid cases, the prime minister said work is underway on a war footing to establish over 1,500 oxygen plants, with efforts to reach every district.

With inputs from PTI

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