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India has flattened Covid-19 curve, no new cases in one-fifth of country: Govt

A pedestrian walks past a wall mural painted to thank frontline workers from various professions fighting against the spread of Covid-19 in Mumbai. (AFP)Premium
A pedestrian walks past a wall mural painted to thank frontline workers from various professions fighting against the spread of Covid-19 in Mumbai. (AFP)

  • Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says 146 of India's 718 districts have had no new cases for a week, 18 districts since 14 days, 6 districts since 21 days and 21 districts since the last 28 days
  • Parts of India have reached herd immunity, according to official survey

Reviewing the novel coronavirus pandemic situation in the country, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said that India has flattened its COVID-19 graph and 146 districts have reported no new case of the viral disease in the last seven days.

He said 146 of India's 718 districts have had no new cases for a week, 18 districts since 14 days, 6 districts since 21 days and 21 districts since the last 28 days.

Vardhan was charing the 23rd meeting of Group of Ministers (GOM) on COVID-19 and highlighted, "India has successfully contained the pandemic", noting that fewer than 12,000 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.

The current testing capacity is 12 lakh tests per day, the minister added.

"With the 'Whole of Government' and 'Whole-of-society' approach envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, India has successfully contained the pandemic. Less than 12,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours and the active caseload has reduced to just 1.73 lakh," he said.

Vardhan informed that a meagre 0.46 per cent of the 1.73 lakh active COVID-19 cases is on ventilators, 2.20 per cent is in the ICU and 3.02 per cent is on oxygen support.

The minister stated that 165 cases of a new UK variant of the virus have so far been reported in the country and the patients are kept under supervised quarantine and surveillance.

With infections falling, the government has also said that from 1 February it would lift curbs on the use of public swimming pools, allow cinema halls and theatres to seat more than 50% of capacity and let all types of exhibition halls to operate.

"Most of our highly populated districts and cities have had their run of the pandemic by now ... and may have what you like to call herd immunity, to an extent," Vinod Kumar Paul, who heads a committee on vaccine strategy, said earlier this month.

Meanwhile, India commenced its mega vccination drive against novel coronavirus on 16 January and the country has already inoculated more than 2 million health care workers, with the aim to reach 300 million people by July-August.

A total of 69,000 programme managers, 2.5 lakh vaccinators and 4.4 lakh other team members have been trained so far and 93,76,030 healthcare workers and 53,94,098 frontline workers are now registered on the Co-WIN portal.

Dr Paul informed that India currently occupies the sixth spot in the world in providing vaccination coverage and will move to the third place in the next few days.

India has recorded the highest number of cases in the world after the United States, though the rate of infection has come down significantly since a mid-September peak. Some studies have suggested pockets of India have attained herd immunity through natural infection.

With agency inputs

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