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As India inches towards 2 million cases, Harsh Vardhan says, coronavirus spread contained in country

Speaking at a virtual meeting of WHO’s Regional Director, South East Asia, with Health Ministers from the region, the health minister also alluded to efficacy of the govt’s containment strategy

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Harsh Vardhan

India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday asserted that the spread of coronavirus has been contained in the country, citing how half the total cases are from three states only and another 30 per cent from seven others.

His remarks come as the country is inching towards the grim mark of two million cases. It has already logged over 40,000 deaths and is recording more than 50,000 daily cases since the past few days.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of WHO’s Regional Director, South East Asia, Poonam Khetrapal Singh with Health Ministers from the region on maintaining essential health services and public health programmes in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Harsh Vardhan alluded to the efficacy of the government’s containment strategy.

“The strategy has been successful in that 50 per cent of the cases are from three states and 32 per cent of the rest are from seven states. The spread of the virus thus has been contained.”

The Minister said that the lockdown was effective in slowing down the rate of growth of cases and gave the government time to augment the health infrastructure and testing facilities.

“From one lab in January, India has 1,370 labs today. Indians anywhere can access a lab within three hours travel time. 33 of the 36 states and UTs (Union Territories) exceed WHO’s recommendation of testing 140 people per million per day.”

Harsh Vardhan also said that the country was “preparing for the pandemic as soon as China informed the World Health Organisation on January 7”, over three weeks before the first case emerged.

India had reported its first coronavirus case on January 30 when a student from Kerala, who was studying in China’s Wuhan University, came back to India and tested positive for the deadly virus.

Harsh Vardhan also stressed that earlier viral outbreaks like the Avian Influenza, H1N1, Zika and Nipah had provided institutional memory in designing containment and management strategies.

“India’s proactive and graded multi-level institutional response to Covid-19 made it possible to have very low cases per million and deaths per million in spite of having a high population density, and low fractional GDP spending, per capita doctor, and hospital bed availability as compared to other developed countries,” he contended.

Cities

10,453 new cases take K’taka’s Covid tally to 5,92,911

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Coronavirus India

Bengaluru, Sep 29 : A whopping 10,453 new Covid-19 cases were registered across Karnataka till Monday midnight, taking the state’s tally to 5,92,911 till date, including 1,07,737 active cases, the state health bulletin said on Tuesday.

“As many as 6,628 people were discharged on Tuesday, taking the total number of recoveries to 4,76,378, while 8,777 have succumbed to the virus so far, including 19 a day ago,” said the bulletin.

The epicentre of the pandemic, Bengaluru, registered 4,868 fresh cases, taking its Covid tally to 2,28,437, including 46,610 active cases, while 2,373 were discharged till Monday midnight, taking the city’s total number of recoveries to 17,89,143 since March 8.

With 67 succumbing to the virus on Monday, the city’s death toll rose to 2,912.

Of the 815 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) across the southern state, 261 are in Bengaluru, followed by Dharwad (93), Ballari (80), Hassan (62) and Kalaburagi (40).

Among the districts, Hassan reported 475 cases on Monday, followed by Mysuru (414), Dakshina Kannada (362), Shivamogga (347), Udupi (319) and Ballari (313).

Among the districts with high discharges, Tumakuru reported 519, followed by Mysuru (350), Koppala (324), Bengaluru Rural (304), Ballari (295) and Dakishna Kannada (232).

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Official COVID-19 death toll probably underestimates true total – WHO

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World Health Organisation

GENEVA: The official global toll of deaths from COVID-19 probably underestimates the true total – suggesting it could be over a million already, a World Health Organization official said on Monday.

“If anything, the numbers currently reported probably represent an underestimate of those individuals who have either contracted COVID-19 or died as a cause of it,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, told a briefing in Geneva.

“When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly but I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of COVID,” he said.

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15 MLAs test Covid positive in Odisha

BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the party will form a committee of MLAs, MPs and leading farmers’ leaders to study the provisions of the farm Bills recently passed in Parliament.

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Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar, Sep 28: At least 15 MLAs including Deputy Speaker Rajanikant Singh and three ministers have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the monsoon session of the Odisha Legislative Assembly starting on Tuesday, official sources said on Monday.

The MLAs underwent Covid-19 test on two days at the Assembly premises, ahead of the commencement of the Assembly session.

“I have been tested positive for COVID-19 and have been admitted in SUM Covid Hospital, Bhubaneswar. I request each and everyone who have come in close contact with me in recent few days to get themselves tested. Jai Jagannath,” tweeted Deputy Speaker Singh.

Ministers Samir Ranjan Dash, Padmini Dian and Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi tested positive for coronavirus during the test drive at the Assembly premises, said the official.

Besides the MLAs, their PSO and drivers, Assembly staff and journalists, had undergone RT-PCR test.

The monsoon session of the Odisha Assembly is scheduled to begin from Tuesday and will culminate on October 7.

Meanwhile, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress held their legislature party meetings to discuss their strategies for the monsoon session.

BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the party will form a committee of MLAs, MPs and leading farmers’ leaders to study the provisions of the farm Bills recently passed in Parliament.

“In both houses of Parliament, BJD raised its concerns regarding protection of farmers’ interest in the farmers’ Bills and suggested for close scrutiny by Parliamentary Committee. The party will form a Committee of MLAs, MPs and leading farmer’s leaders to study the provisions. I would like to assure the farmers that their welfare will be paramount in any of our interventions,” said Patnaik.

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