Covid-19: Active cases are coming down slowly

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 18, 2020

People getting tested at the mobile Covid testing vehicle in Chennai   -  B VELANKANNI RAJ

New active Covid-19 cases reported in the country have been coming down slightly since August 13 even though the number of tests carried out was going up, a key Health Ministry official said here on Tuesday.

The new cases reported have come down from over 64,000 on August 13 to around 55,000 on August 17. So, there is a declining trend in the last five days. But five days are a small period in a pandemic. This is reassuring, but challenges are not over yet, said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan during a press conference here. “But, there is no reason to slacken our guard,” he said.

On vaccine development

Vinod K Paul, Member NITI Aayog, who also briefed the media, said one of three Covid vaccines being developed in the country entering phase III clinical trials soon while the other two are in Phase I-II trials. The progress being made by these vaccines was reviewed at a meeting of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration on Covid-19, he added.

The meeting also discussed the pricing related issues, but it was too early provide any “firm information” on pricing because it is too early to talk about pricing, which is a complex issue. He said while the government wants these vaccines and many others in the pipeline to succeed, that would be known only after the trails are over.

Paul also said that post-Covid care complications seen in a section of recovered patients are a “latest development” and hoped that the hospitals are collecting data on such cases for a thorough study. Replying to a question about India link of a more severe coronavirus strain reported in Malaysia, he said “we have also taken note of it.”

According to Bhushan, India has exported an additional 15 lakh PPE kits, in addition to 23 lakh kits exported in July, to Slovenia and the US so far in August. He also said, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade also allowed export of ventilator early this month, but the details about how many were exported so far are not available yet.

The Health Secretary also said now that Covid-19 testing has been developed in a robust manner in the country, the government is not averse to reviewing the process to see whether private sector to conduct testing. He also said the cost of tests has come down significantly since it started in January.

On Tuesday, the number of active cases in the country dropped by 3,734 as compared to what reported on the previous day to 6,73,166. This was the second consecutive day of recovered exceeding the new cases.

Total cases cross 27 lakh

The total cases, however, went past 27 lakh. With another 872 people succumbing to the infection, the total deaths due to Covid-19 went up to 51,797. As many as 19,77,779 people recovered, including 57,937 in the last 24 hours.

On Monday, the active cases came down by a slight 544 cases to 6,76,900.

Published on August 18, 2020

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