“I value Lions Club members having made appreciable contribution in our fight against COVID-19, especially through PM CARES contribution, equipments, sanitizers food, PPE kits and N95 masks etc. for hospitals,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare stated while interacting with the Lions Club International members across the country through Video Conferencing (VC), here today. He commended their contributions over the years in campaigns such as Polio, Cataract etc. and exhorted them to again collectively support Government’s efforts in the COVID-19 fight.“We all have to rise to the occasion to work together to defeat COVID-19 which has spread across more than 200 countries in the world,” he said.He also commended them for providing meals to millions, and much needed medical equipment and protective gears to many.Highlighting India’s approach in combating COVID-19, he said, “This time the hallmark of our approach has been fivefold: (i) Maintaining a continuous situation awareness, (ii) Pre-emptive and proactive approach, (iii) Graded response as per continuously evolving scenario, (iv) Inter-sectoral coordination at all levels, and lastly, but most importantly (v) Creating a people’s movement to combat this disease.”Commenting on India’s strengths in tackling the disease, he said, “India has successfully tackled public health emergencies of international concern and pandemics in the past as well.” He also added, “Our nation has the requisite national core capacities stipulated in the International Health Regulations to manage public health emergencies.
The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), which is a nation-wide surveillance system for epidemic prone diseases, has been activated towards COVID response, and is being further strengthened with substantive digital inputs.”He stated that since the last three days, the doubling rate is 11.3 days in the country. He further added that although global mortality rate is around 7%, India is having a mortality rate of around 3%, and around 86% of fatality of persons with co-morbidity.He also added that only 0.33% patients are on ventilators, 1.5% patients are on oxygen support and 2.34% patients are in ICU, which reflects the quality of care being provided across the country. In case of any further eventuality, the country is well equipped with isolation beds, ventilators, PPE, masks etc., he stated.He also informed that 288 government laboratories are working along with 97 private lab. chains with around 16,000 sample collection centres and testing around 60,000 tests per day. Government is working to increase the testing capacity to 1 lakh tests per day within next few days, he added.The Health Minister further said that since the development of a vaccine is going to take a longer time, Lockdown and Social Distancing are serving as effective ‘social vaccine’.“The Ministry of Science & Technology, under my charge, has also been working on innovations and have been funding certain projects which are going to make the testing procedure quite fast”, he said.The Health Minister stated that along with the States/UTs and the dedicated stakeholders and partners, India shall be able to emerge as a victorious in combating COVID-19.