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India's COVID-19 deaths per million one of the lowest in the world, Mansukh Mandaviya tells Lok Sabha

Speaking in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on COVID-19 situation, Mandaviya said the government will decide when to start vaccination for children and a booster dose based on the advice from expert committees and scientists.

December 03, 2021 / 05:25 PM IST
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on December 3 said that India’s COVID-19 deaths per million of the population were one of the lowest in the world.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, Mandaviya urged Opposition parties to stop doing politics over the deaths related to the shortage of oxygen during the deadly second wave of the pandemic.

Follow Our Parliament Winter Session LIVE Updates Here

The minister said that the Union government had started working for COVID-19 prevention nearly a month before the first case was reported in Kerala.

“3.46 crore coronavirus cases have been reported in India and 4.6 lakh people died. This is 1.36 percent of total cases. 25,000 cases and 340 deaths per million population were reported in India. This is one of the lowest in the world,” Mandaviya said. The health minister spoke after the Lok Sabha witnessed an 11-hour long discussion on the country’s COVID-19 situation that continued past midnight amid Omicron variant concerns.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The minister also said that the government will decide when to start vaccination for children and a booster dose based on the advice from expert committees and scientists.

READ: COVID-19 | Two Omicron cases detected in Karnataka: Health Ministry

Mandaviya appealed to the Opposition leaders to take note of the Centre's honest efforts. "This is not a subject of politics," he said

Instead of blaming previous regimes that ignored health infrastructure, Mandaviya said in his 90-minute speech that the Narendra Modi-led government undertook work to strengthen the infrastructure.

Also, read:  Winter Session | Bob Dylan to Bashir Badr: MPs speak on COVID-19 till past midnight in marathon debate in Lok Sabha

“The government worked for results. In the last two years, decisions under the leadership of PM Modi show that this government works with will power and not power,” the minister said.

Mandaviya also cited a meeting held well before the first case of COVID-19 was reported in India to show how the Centre was well-prepared before the outbreak of the pandemic.

“The first COVID-19 case in India was reported on January 13, 2020, in Kerala. But the first meeting of the joint monitoring committee constituted by the Centre was held on January 8. It means we were alert, a committee had been formed before the case was reported and it had started working,” he added.

The minister said as many as 19 states responded to the Centre’s query on deaths related to the shortage of oxygen during the second wave and only Punjab replied saying four deaths were being investigated.

No deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and UTs during the second COVID-19 wave, the government informed the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon Session.
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