We have saved India from going into Stage 3: Health Minister

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New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said we have saved India from going into Stage 3 or community transmission stage, and have also fared better than many countries, in the fight against the novel coronavirus, on various parameters.

“Testing has been made strong in the country. Today, we have already completed 5.5 lakh tests and after increasing our testing frequency our positive cases are not rising.

“The positive cases are not rising more than 4 per cent…We were all worried if we are in Stage 3, but we have been able to save the country largely from going into Stage 3,” Harsh Vardhan said, adding “we have all the information connected with clusters and hotspots.”

Responding to the issue of faulty testing kits, Vardhan who was interacting with state health ministers and health secretaries of all states & UTs to review Covid19 situation, said during the video conference: “We will return the testing kits to their country of origin, and we have not paid money yet. Strategies were made to use these kits in hotspots.

“Faulty antibody testing kits will be returned irrespective of the country they were procured from, including China,” added Vardhan.

Detailing the country’s progress in the past 3.5 months in tackling COVID-19, Vardhan added: “On January 8, we held our first meeting, and today, in comparison with many other countries, fighting against COVID-19, India has done very well.

“We have fewer cases per million percentage. We have a mortality of 3 per cent, which is less. Recovery rate of patients, who contracted viral infection, is better than the world. In March, the doubling rate of coronavirus cases was 3 days; today it is close to 9 days.

“All over the country wherever the virus is active, we have the full information. And, we also know, what we have to do to tackle this virus in these areas,” added Vardhan.

He insisted that the country has a very well defined strategy to deal with hotspots and also those districts which so far remain coronavirus free.

“We are in a better position to control the disease. Containment and surveillance strategies have been designed meticulously,” said Vardhan. He added that lockdown has proved helpful in tackling the outbreak of the viral infection.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the plasma therapy used on four coronavirus patients in the city were showing positive results.

“Two patients were given plasma on Tuesday, while two were given the therapy on Thursday. The two patients who received plasma on Tuesday have shown improvement,” Kejriwal told the media.

“Next week, we will seek central government permission to try the therapy on all the serious corona patients in Delhi,” Kejriwal said, pointing out that these are “just the initial results”.

Last Tuesday, the Delhi government had got the approval from the Centre to try plasma therapy on critical patients.

In the fight against the coronavirus, Kejriwal said, his government is fighting on two levels — to control the spread of the infection and also to treat those who have the infection.

In convalescent plasma therapy, antibodies of a recovered patient are taken and transfused into a sick person (infected by the virus) to help boost the latter’s immune system.

Dr S.K. Sarin, head of Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), told the media that they were hopeful that more people could be given the therapy.

“Also, among the four, at least two may be discharged by the weekend,” Sarin said.

He said that 25 persons need plasma donation at present. “It is inexpensive and affordable, unlike medications which are costly.”

Urging people to step forward for plasma donation, Kejriwal said: “We will not take blood but only plasma. Your blood will be put back in the body after the plasma is separated and used.

Delhi has reported about 2,400 coronavirus cases and 50 deaths so far.

Image courtesy of thesatimes |

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