New Delhi, October 20

India’s COVID-19 graph dipped dramatically on Tuesday with daily new cases dropping below 50,000 for the first time in 84 days. The country saw 46,790 cases today.

The last time this level of daily surge was recorded was on July 29 when 48,513 cases were registered in 24 hours.

In another milestone achievement today, India has recorded the lowest cases per million people in the last seven days globally as per the data maintained by the WHO to monitor recent worldwide trends in the pandemic.

As against the global average of 315 cases per million in the last week, India saw 310 cases as against France’s 2,457, Spain’s 936 and US’ 1,153. Most of these nations are witnessing second surges of the pandemic after the same had peaked.

India’s total recoveries surged past 67 lakh, the highest recoveries in the world and the total number of tests reached 9.6 crore, the second highest level of tests globally.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said India’s cumulative COVID positivity rate had declined to 7.90 per cent despite high levels of testing and reacting to the government modelling that has projected pandemic control by early 2021, Bhushan said, “The experts have said the downward trend will continue only if people wear masks, maintain physical distance and hand and face hygiene. They have said that the pandemic is getting less active but the numbers can rise again if people do not maintain COVID appropriate behaviour. So going forward we have to all continue to do more of the same and even more efficiently.”

India’s active cases as of today are 7,48,538 which is only 9.8 per cent of the total confirmed cases.

“Nearly 64 per cent of active cases are in six states. Among them 50 per cent active cases are in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala and the rest in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal,” said Health Secretary assuring the country of adequate medical oxygen stocks in India to deal with COVID cases.

There are 57,357 patients on oxygen as of today as against 75,098 on September 24.

“Medical oxygen was never in short supply in India over the period of the pandemic outbreak. Even now we have surplus stocks and are augmenting oxygen generation capacities constantly,” said Bhushan.

In an important clarification, the Health Secretary said digital health IDs would be one of the means to administer COVID vaccines to people, and multiple IDs would be allowed for immunisation as is done for voting.

Responding to PM Narendra Modi’s comments yesterday that digital health IDs would be used to immunise people against COVID-19, Bhushan said, “It would be wrong to interpret that those who do not have digital IDs will be denied the benefit of immunisation. Digital health IDs will be used. It would be like an electoral scenario where multiple IDs are prescribed so that no one is denied the benefit of voting. We are also amending the data management policy under the National Digital Health Mission which has been in public domain for several months and on which we have received 7,000 comments.”

Bhushan said if current vaccine trials succeed, India would have enough vaccine doses between January and July to immunise priority population which has been identified by the national vaccine administration task force.

Bhushan did not elaborate on who these beneficiaries would be.

Plasma therapy to be discontinued in clinical protocols

ICMR DG Balram Bhargava today said the government was working on the deletion of convalescent plasma therapy from the national COVID management protocol. Several studies have shown plasma has no benefit in COVID patients, he said.

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