Dismissing rumours regarding the spread of “community transmission” of coronavirus in India, the health ministry Friday said in a press briefing that if it was the case, there would have been a need for “additional alertness” in the country. The ministry’s assurance came amid rising number of infections in India, with positive cases rising to 6,554 and death toll at 206.
Meanwhile, an External Affairs Ministry official, who was present at the same press briefing, added that nearly 20,473 foreign nationals had been evacuated from India as on Thursday. The official also claimed that the stock of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was being reviewed by the Group of Ministers (GoM) and some restrictions had been lifted accordingly. “A lot of requests were already there for it. Taking into view domestic stocks, requirement and buffer decision was taken to release some,” he said.
Here are some of the top points from the health ministry’s daily briefing-
— Until now 678 new cases and 33 deaths have emerged in the past 24 hours, said the health ministry joint secretary, Lav Aggarwal.
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— The Rs 15000 crore package will be to upgrade testing facilities , to buy Personal Protective Equipments and to set up COVID-19 hospitals. It is also for the training of medical and paramedical staff, Aggarwal informed.
—” We have issued guidelines on functioning of blood camps. PPEs and medical equipment etc have been exempted from customs duty and health cess,” Aggarwal said.
— On Hydroxychloroquine production, the health ministry official said that India has about 3.38 crore tables available which is triple the requirement for the country. Domestic production has been 100 per cent ensured for now and future, he reiterated, adding private sector has sent 2 crore tablets for distribution to field staff.
—”As per information received till April 9, almost 37,978 camps are functional across the country for migrants and over 34,000 camps are run by state governments,” Home Ministry Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava said.
— “If there is community transmission in the country, we will be the first person to tell you because it needs additional alertness,” Lav Aggarwal said when asked a question on ICMR’s study on SARI cases. He informed that 146 government and 67 private labs are involved in coronavirus testing across the country.
— He further explained that a study conducted by ICMR Delhi states that 1.8% positive cases are among SARI cases are from VRDL labs where cases are already existing, not from areas where there are no cases; there is a need to study this closely.
— “16,002 tests were conducted on Thursday and only 0.2 per cent cases tested positive. However, it is a cause of concern that cases are going up. Infectious disease is like a chain reaction- one person infects four, they infect 8. The need of the hour is to break chain of transmission. Are we doing social distancing properly?,” Aggarwal quipped.
— Health ministry denies report that without lockdown there would be over 8 lakh cases in India.
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