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Harsh Vardhan: Early lockdown prevented 14-29 lakh Covid cases, up to 78,000 deaths in India: Harsh Vardhan


NEW DELHI: Early lockdown prevented 14 to 29 lakh Covid cases and up to 78,000 deaths in India, health minister Harsh Vardhan said in both Houses of Parliament on Monday.

In a detailed statement on the first day of Monsoon Session of Parliament, Harsh Vardhan said, “The nationwide lockdown, a bold decision, undertaken by the government duly involving community, initiated as self-imposed Junta Curfew as per the call given by Prime Minister is testimony to the fact that India has collectively stood up to manage Covid-19 and successfully blunted the aggressive progression of Covid. It has been estimated that this decision prevented approximately 14-29 lakh cases and 37-78,000 deaths.” Giving his second statement in Parliament since the outbreak, Harsh Vardhan said this time was used by the government to improve health infrastructure essential in the fight against Covid.

The statement came on a day when India’s tally crossed the 4.8-million mark with 92,071 cases and 1,136 deaths being reported in 24 hours. Of the total, 9,86,595 are active cases, 37,80,107 patients cured and discharged. Harsh Vardhan said, “The maximum cases and deaths have been primarily reported from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Odisha, Assam, Kerala and Gujarat. All these states have reported more than 1 lakh cases.” The health minister said India had been able to limit its cases and deaths per million to 3,328 cases per million and 55 deaths per million population respectively , which is one of the lowest in the world as compared to similarly affected countries. Harsh Vardhan said approximately 92% of Covid cases in India had shown mild to moderate symptoms.

The health minister elaborated on India’s response to the pandemic. He said a detailed community surveillance programme was initiated for travel-related cases and subsequently for cases being reported from community by Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). The minister said as on September 11, about 40 lakh persons have been kept under surveillance and extensive contact tracing of all positive cases is regularly being undertaken through disease surveillance network so as to break the chain of transmission.

Speaking about a vaccine and India’s role in its development, the health minister said, “Globally, there are around 145 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation and currently 35 vaccines in clinical trial. In India, a major focus has been on facilitating the development of Covid-19 vaccine. More than 30 vaccine candidates have been supported which are in different stages of development, 3 candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I/II/III trials and more than 4 are in advanced pre-clinical development stage.”

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