New Delhi: Thirteen states and Union Territories, including Kerala, Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir, have not reported any new case of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday.
Informing reporters that 3,561 new coronavirus cases have been reported and 1,084 patients have recovered in 24 hours since Wednesday morning, he asserted that "in comparison with other countries, India is in a better state as the fatality rate is 3.3 per cent and recovery rate is 28.83 per cent."
Of the total 35,902 active cases, 4.8 per cent patients are in ICU, 1.1 per cent on ventilators and 3.3 per cent are on oxygen support.
Vardhan reviewed the preparedness and containment measures for the management of COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, and said 180 districts across the country have not reported any new instance of the respiratory infection in less than seven days.
Another 180 districts had no fresh case in the last seven to 13 days. As many as 164 districts have not registered any new case in 14-20 days, while 136 districts have not reported any case of coronavirus infection in the last 21 to 28 days, he was quoted as saying in a health ministry statement.
The 13 states and Union Territories which have not reported any new case in the last 24 hours are Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Mizoram, Manipur, Goa, Meghalaya, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Daman and Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and the Lakshadweep Islands have not reported a single case till date, he said.
"COVID-19 testing capacity has increased. As many as 95,000 tests are being conducted daily in 327 government and 118 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 13,57,442 tests have been done so far," the minister said.
Elaborating on the country's preparedness in terms of health infrastructure, Vardhan said as of now there are 821 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals with 1,50,059 beds (1,32,219 isolation and 17,840 ICU beds) and 1,898 dedicated health centres with 1,19,109 beds (1,09,286 isolation and 9,823 ICU beds) along with 7,569 quarantine centres.
The Union health minister also said that 29.06 lakh personal protective equipment (PPEs) and 62.77 lakh N-95 masks have been distributed to states, Union Territories and central institutions.
After a brief presentation on the status of COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, Vardhan said the states need to focus on effective surveillance, contact tracing and early diagnosis to the COVID-19 fatality rate low.
"Surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) and Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) should be intensified in unaffected districts and in areas which have not reported cases for the last 14 days and more through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network in collaboration with medical college hospitals.
"Such measures will help in indicating the presence of any possible hidden infection at an early stage and in turn timely containment," he said.
Vardhan asked the states to ensure adoption of infection prevention and control practices in all healthcare facilities to reduce and avoid chances of infections among healthcare workers. He advised them to implement all central guidelines and advisories in the field level.
The states have been informed about the measures taken to partner with private hospitals for COVID-19 management. Uttar Pradesh has stated that it has identified private hospitals as dedicated COVID-19 health facilities on payment basis.
In view of the surge in the number of stranded migrant labourers expected to reach their native states in the coming days, Vardhan stressed on drawing up a robust strategy and mechanism for their testing, quarantine, and treatment of positive cases.
"Some states shall people returning from abroad too. An effective strategy needs to be put in place for their testing, institutional quarantine and treatment if needed," he said.
It was reiterated to the states to ensure provisioning of non-coronavirus essential health services such as immunisation drives, tuberculosis case finding and treatment, blood transfusion for patients requiring dialysis, treatment of cancer patients and antenatal care of pregnant women among others, the health ministry statement said.
"It was also stated that the Ayushman Bharat - Health and Wellness Centres could be used for screening for hypertension, diabetes and three types of cancers. Telemedicine and tele-counselling could be used for a larger population in view of the lockdown. States were also advised to keep adequate stock of essential medicines.
"They were also informed that helpline number 104 in addition to 1075 can be used for grievance redressal for non-COVID essential services, and for informing availability of these services etc," it said.
The COVID-19 death toll rose to 1,783 and the number of cases climbed to 52,952 on Thursday, registering an increase of 89 fatalities and 3,561 cases in 24 hours since Wednesday morning, according to the Union Health Ministry.