New Delhi, 09 April 2021: Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare chaired the 24th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 through video-conference, here today. He was joined by Dr S. Jaishankar, Union Minister of External Affairs, Sh. Hardeep S. Puri, Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways (I/C), & Chemical and Fertilizers, Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare and Sh. Nityanand Rai, Minister of State, Home Affairs.

Dr. Vinod K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog was present virtually.

Detailing the achievements of the world’s largest Vaccination Drive, the Union Health Ministersaid, “More than 3 crore vaccinations have been administered to 60 plus beneficiaries, and more than 9.43 crore doses have been given till 9 am today. India has also supported the global community through Vaccine Maitri, under which 6.45 Crore doses of COVID-19 Vaccine have been exported to 85 Countries. 3.58 Crore doses have been supplied to 25 countries under commercial contracts, 1.04 Crore to 44 countries as grants and 1.82 Crore to 39 Countries under COVAX.” He added that there have been no fresh COVID cases in the last 7 days in 149 districts. 8 districts have reported no new COVID Cases in the last 14 days; 3 districts in last 21 days and 63 districts in the last 28 days.

Further highlighting the Total Tests conducted and Health Infrastructure availability, he added, “Till now, we have conducted a total 25,71,98,105 tests and 13,64,205 tests have been conducted in the last 24 hours. Total no. of labs available in our country is 2449 with 1230 Government Testing Labs and 1219 Private Testing Labs. He stated that the country has substantially ramped up the hospital infrastructure for management of COVID. 2084 dedicated COVID Hospitals(Centre:89 and States:1995) have been set up in the country with 4,68,974 Total COVID Beds.Of the total 4,68,974 total COVID Beds available in them, 2,63,573 are Isolation Beds, 50,408 are ICU Beds and 1,54,993 are Oxygen Supported Beds. Also, 4,043 (Centre:85 and States: 3,958) Dedicated COVID Health Centres have been set up. It consists of 3,57,096 Total COVID Beds, out of which 2,31,462 are Isolation Beds, 25,459 are ICU Beds and 1,00, 175 are Oxygen Supported Beds. Total 12,673 Quarantine Centres and 9,313 Total COVID Care Centres have also been set up with 28 COVID Care Centres alone in Delhi with 9,421 total isolation beds. He also gave a descriptive detail about status of Medical Equipment disbursed to states in terms of Total Ventilators availability, Total PPEs and Total N95 masks distributed in States/UTs/Central Institutions.

Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that with renewed focus on collective efforts for effective adherence of the Health Ministry’s SOPs for containment and management of COVID, and individual discipline in following oft disseminated COVID Appropriate Behaviours, India shall be able to overcome the recent surge. He drew inspiration and guidance from the Prime Minister’s interaction with the Chief Ministers of all States and LGs/Administrators of UTs yesterday to drive home the critical importance of these.

Through a detailed presentation on the status of COVID in the top 11 high burden states in the country, Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director (NCDC) highlighted that as on 8th April 2021, India’s seven-day case growth rate (12.93%) is next only to USA and Brazil. Although the country was seeing an average growth rate of 5.37% in the Daily Cases(as on 8th April 2021), the national Case Fatality Ratio has declined to 1.28%. He stated that the overall national Recovery Rate for India has declined to 91.22% in view of the ongoing surge situation.

Through the detailed presentation, it was also pointed out that 11 States together contribute to 54% of the total cases & 65% of the total deaths in the country. Disproportionately higher deaths in Maharashtra and Punjab have further increased during the last 14 days (64% of the total deaths in the country). Starting February 2021, a steep increase in cases observed in all the 11 States. Majority of the cases are reported in the younger population (15-44 years of age) and majority of the deaths reported among the elderly population (> 60 years). A high-test positivity rate is seen in Maharashtra (25%) and Chhattisgarh (14%). He highlighted that in many states the proportion of RTPCR-RAT was not satisfactory, while testing capacity in the private sector is underutilized in many states. Also, feedback from the visiting teams indicate laxity in following Covid appropriate behaviour, containment zone activities and increased social gatherings increasing the number of cases.

Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog explained the global approach underlying population prioritisation regarding vaccination. The same scientific and evidence-based approach has guided Government of India in its population age groups prioritization for COVID vaccination, he stated. He also detailed efforts to ramp up production of the existing vaccines and also detailed about the potency and timeline of vaccines undergoing clinical trials.

Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary (Health), Shri Amit Khare, Secretary (Information & Broadcasting), Shri Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary (Civil Aviation), Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary (DPIIT), Smt. S. Aparna, Secretary (Pharmaceuticals), Shri Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary (Textiles), Dr. Balram Bhargava, Secretary (Health Research) & DG (ICMR), Shri Dammu Ravi, Addl. Secretary (External Affairs), Shri Govind Mohan, Addl. Secretary (Home Affairs), Dr. Sunil Kumar, DGHS (MoHFW), Shri Amit Yadav, DG, Foreign Trade (DGFT), Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director (NCDC) and other senior government officials participated through video conference. Eminent public health expert Dr. R. Gangakhedkar was also present.