The mortality rate of COVID-19 patients in India is 3.1 per cent as compared to 7 per cent globally, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said while asserting that the coronavirus situation in the country is improving as many hotspot districts are moving towards becoming non-hotspots.
As many as 5,913 people have been cured of the disease so far which puts the recovery rate around 22 per cent, also better than most countries, he said.
Giving an update on the COVID-19 situation in the country, the minister said the doubling rate of coronavirus cases has been showing regular improvement and stands at 10.5 days when seen over a period of three days.
"It is 9.3 days seen over a period of seven days and 8.1 days over a period of 14 days. These indicators may be taken as positive effects of the countrywide lockdown along with the cluster management and containment strategies," Vardhan was quoted as saying in a health ministry statement.
As on date, 283 districts have not reported any case of coronavirus infection. Also, 64 districts have not reported any new case in the last seven days while 48 districts have not reported a fresh case in the last 14 days, he said.
Besides, 33 districts have not reported a fresh case in the last 21 days and 18 districts have not reported any new case in the last 28 days, Vardhan said.
On April 15, the health ministry had declared 170 districts COVID-19 hotspots and 207 districts non-hotspots.
Hotspots are those districts which are reporting a large number of cases or where the rate of growth of COVID-19 cases is high, the ministry had said, adding a detailed direction has been issued to states stating consolidated efforts are required to utilise the lockdown period to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
Since then, there has been no update from the health ministry on the number of hotspots.
"The situation is improving in India as hotspot districts are moving towards being non-hotspot districts," the minister said and stressed that states with high viral load should focus on effective implementation of the lockdown and containment strategy.
Elaborating on the availability of ventilators, oxygen supply and ICUs at the Central and state levels, Vardhan said, "When we compare the number of patients who are currently hospitalised, we find that only 2.17 per cent patients have been admitted in ICU, 1.29 per cent required oxygen support and mere 0.36 per cent are on ventilators."
"We are winning the battles and eventually we will win this war against COVID-19. We are prepared to deal with any situation," he said.
On the status of availability of medical equipment and facilities in the country, the minister said, "We have already made available sufficient quantities of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) at the state level and now we have around 106 manufacturing units in India itself. This will be enough to meet the requirement of our country in future."
"Apart from this, there are now 10 manufacturers of N-95 masks in the country," he said.
About the availability of ventilators, Vardhan said through efforts of the government and various research laboratories, domestic manufacturers have started production of this equipment and orders have been placed for more than 59,000 units.
The minister visited the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre of AIIMS here, which is functioning as a dedicated COVID-19 hospital now, to take stock of their preparedness to overcome the epidemic.
Vardhan said the AIIMS Trauma Centre has a 250-bed isolation ward which is ensuring prompt care for COVID-19 patients who require advanced medical support.
Also, the Burn and Plastic Surgery Block of the facility is being turned into a screening and triage area for housing COVID-19 suspect cases, according to the health ministry statement.
Vardhan also visited the emergency ward, private ward, the ICU and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) ward in the building as well as the washrooms to check if those are properly sanitised.
While in the hospital, the minister interacted with a few COVID-19 patients through video calling, with the latter being assisted by robots at their end, and enquired about their well being, the statement said.
After a detailed review, Vardhan appreciated AIIMS for ensuring round-the-clock monitoring of COVID-19 confirmed and suspected patients using digital platforms, video and voice call technologies.
He urged people to observe the lockdown in letter and spirit and to treat it as an effective intervention to cut down the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the cabinet secretary had a detailed video conferencing with chief secretaries and directors general of police (DGP) of states and Union Territories to review the preparedness for COVID-19 response, the statement said.
The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 826 and the number of cases climbed to 26,917 on Sunday, according to Union Health Ministry.