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From vaccines to bed capacity — key takeaways from Health Ministry briefing

Health Ministry's Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the government was expanding the COVID-19 testing capacity in state-run as well as private medical colleges.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 12, 2020 7:31:40 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus in pune, coronavirus cases in pune, co-morbid patients, pune doctors, pune hospitals, indian express news The government was ‘extra prepared’ if there was an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus patients, the Health Ministry said. (Express photo)

Coronavirus cases in India Sunday crossed the 8,000-mark, with 909 infections and 34 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Sunday in its daily briefing. The toll now stands at 274, while 716 people have recovered. Health Ministry’s Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the government was expanding the COVID-19 testing capacity in state-run as well as private medical colleges. He also asserted that the government was “extra prepared” if there was an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus patients. Follow LIVE UPDATES

Here are the highlights from the Health Ministry’s briefing:

#1. The Health Ministry said it was working on an urgent basis to expand the capacity for COVID-19 testing in government and private medical colleges across the country. “Fourteen mentor institutes, including the AIIMS and NIMHANS, have been identified to mentor the medical colleges and expand the coronavirus testing capacity,” Agarwal said.

#2. Dr Manoj Murhekar of ICMR said more than 40 vaccines were under development but none had reached the next stage. “As of now, there is no vaccine,” he said.

#3. The Health Ministry also informed that 20,000 train coaches will be converted into isolation wards. “In the first phase, 5,000 coaches are being converted,” Agarwal said.

#4. Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Punya Salila Srivastava said the situation regarding essential commodities was under control. “Officials of Ministries of Civil Aviation, Consumer Affairs, and Railways have been working in coordination with states to resolve logistics problems,” she said.

#5. A Health Ministry official said that on March 29, India had 979 positive cases and the number has touched 8,356 as of April 12. He said out of the cases, a fifth of them required intensive care (ICU) support. “Hence, a total of 1671 patients need ICU. This figure is important to show that the government is aware and prepared to manage the situation,” he said.

#6. According to ICMR, a total of 1,86,906 samples have so far been tested across the country, of which 7,953 have been found positive for COVID-19. “In the last five days, on an average, 15,747 samples were tested per day and 584 of those were found to be positive per day,” an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official said at the press briefing.

#7. “As per April 9 data, if we needed 1,100 beds, we had 85,000 beds. Today, when we need 1,671 beds, then we have 1 lakh 5 thousand beds in the dedicated 601 hospitals,” Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry, said.

#8. KS Dhatwalia, principal spokesperson, stated that some countries had requested India for supply of HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine). After making an assessment of domestic requirement and  maintaining the buffer, the govt has approved the release of HCQ for 13 countries.

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