The COVID-19 situation in India has gotten “bad to worse” in recent weeks, according to the Centre. “Trends show that the virus is still very healthy, and just when we think we’ve got it under control, it resurfaces,” VK Paul, chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, said. He, on the other hand, refuted that the mutated strains are to blame for the spike.
States are being advised that COVID-19 appropriate actions must be implemented — “Use the law, use fine… people need to wear a mask,” he said.
Some Points About The COVID-19 Situation:
“Punjab is neither doing adequate number of tests, nor is isolating infected people properly. Maharashtra has 3.37 lakh active cases. Death has increased from 32 in Feb to 118 now. Karnataka needs to improve testing and isolation,” VK Paul said.
“Delhi, taken as one district, is among top 10 COVID-19 high-burden districts. Eight such districts are from Maharashtra,” he added.
“We have taken pride that fatality has been low. But the death rate is now at four times — at 271 from 73. The virus needs to be eliminated,” Mr Paul said. “We want to emphasize that without contact tracing, quarantining, isolation etc. we cannot contain the virus,” he added.
Mr Paul said, “There is a concept of virus shift drift and shift. There is no such thing as an Indian strain. It is not a cause to panic. Mutations are sporadic and not significant”.
The prevalence of external mutant forms of the virus is also weak, according to the ministry. So far, scientists have discovered 807 cases of the UK COVID-19 variant, 47 cases of the South African variant, and one case of the Brazilian variant out of 11,064 genome samples analysed in ten national laboratories.
The Centre has advised states that in districts experiencing a spike in incidents, there should be coverage of vaccination for priority age groups. 6.11 lakh vaccine doses had been distributed as of March 30 morning.
“All private facilities must be utilised optimally for vaccination. The facility must have adequate space for waiting, vaccination and observation room. The hospital must have a functional cold chain storage, adequate number of verifier and vaccinators. They must also have facilities to address adverse events following immunization,” Mr Paul said.
Seven more COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in different stages of clinical trials, with another two dozen in pre-clinical trials, according to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. Currently, India has two vaccines: Covishield from AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and Covaxin from Bharat Biotech.