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“India has acquired enough strength against COVID-19”- Dr Harsh Vardhan

Speaking in the virtual interactive session with Health Ministers of member countries of World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Harsh Vardhan said COVID-19 has been turned into an opportunity to strengthen the healthcare delivery system in the country

New Delhi: “India’s response has been proactive, pre-emptive and graded in handling situation arising out of COVID-19 outbreak”, said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, today, while participating in a virtual interactive session with Health Ministers of member countries of World Health Organization (WHO) on the measures being taken for containment of COVID-19.

At the outset, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated, “The current situation on COVID-19 in the world is alarming and requires special measures to mitigate the number of casualties.”Exhorting the WHO officials, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “We are meeting in troubled times and we have to work together by sharing our best practices to eradicate COVID-19.” India’s Health Minister stated, “India was first to respond to COVID -19 and stands on a better footing than the rest of the world because of the valuable and sincere services of our Corona warriors.” Referring to the active surveillance efforts made by the Government agencies to monitor potential victims or carriers of the disease, he said, “We know the enemy and its whereabouts. We are able to check this enemy through community surveillance, issuance of various advisories, cluster containment and dynamic strategy.”

Speaking about how the crisis arising out of COVID-19 has been turned into an opportunity to strengthen the healthcare delivery system in the country, the minister said, “We had only one Lab at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Pune, to perform tests for COVID-19 initially. During the last 03 months, we have scaled up the number of government labs to 230 aided by another 87 private labs with more than 16,000 collection centres. Till now we have tested more than 05 Lakh people for COVID-19. We are going to increase the numbers of government labs to 300 and ramp up our present daily testing capacity of 55,000 to 01 Lakh per day by May 31, 2020.”

Elaborating further on the preparations made by the country to deal with the crisis, he said, “The Government has ensured preparedness for high loads of patients in times to come. The Government has classified COVID treatment facilities based on the severity of the disease, into three categories, which are – COVID Care Centers for patients with mild symptoms, COVID Health Care Centers – for patients with medium symptoms and Dedicated COVID Hospitals for patients with severe symptoms. These three types of COVID centres are duly mapped to facilitate the transfer of patients as per the severity of the case. We have in all 2,033 dedicated facilities in the country with more than 1,90,000 isolation beds, more than 24,000 ICU beds and more than 12,000 ventilators. All these facilities have been organized within the last 03 months.”

Further, while referring to the solutions meant to the curiosity of people to know about the risk hovering around, Dr Harsh Vardhan highlighted the effectiveness of ‘AarogyaSetu’ mobile application, which has been downloaded by more than 7.2 Crore people. It is a mobile application developed by the Government of India to connect essential health services with the people of India in our combined fight against COVID-19. The App is aimed at augmenting the initiatives of the Government of India, in proactively reaching out to and informing the users of the app, regarding risks, best practices and relevant advisories pertaining to the containment of COVID-19.

Concluding his session, appreciating the able leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi he said, “We have a great leader in our PM as he is very receptive and accommodating to the suggestions given by experts from time to time, which in turn has led to India handling the COVID-19 situation effectively. People have also supported our efforts in making the lockdown successful”. “I can assure that we are prepared for any eventuality and we are in a position to provide proper health care to all patients to make them healthy and fit for all times to come”, he said.