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India has one of the lowest COVID mortality rates in world but each death painful: Harsh Vardhan

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There has been a sudden jump in the number of coronavirus cases in the last one month but the figure of recoveries is also increasing at the same speed, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday while highlighting that India has one of the lowest COVID mortality rates in the world.

After his visit to the Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) here to take a comprehensive review of the COVID facilities available at the hospital, Vardhan said India has one of the lowest COVID mortality rates in the world but each and every death is tragic and painful, according to a statement issued by the health ministry.

The National Mortality Rate has been falling and currently stands at 1.11 per cent, he added.

India saw the highest single-day rise of 3,79,257 COVID-19 cases and a record 3,645 deaths caused by the viral disease in a span of 24 hours, according to the health ministry’s data updated at 8 am.

Vardhan asserted that the biggest weapon against the viral disease is following COVID-appropriate behaviour.

“There is no bigger weapon than wearing a mask, regularly washing hands with soap and maintaining social distancing,” he said.

The health minister said from the beginning of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been exhorting people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour as it is essential in the fight against the disease.

He assured people that just as the number of active cases was reduced to less than 10,000 in February with a graded response from the government, it will again be brought down, the statement said.

Vardhan said no one knew about the coronavirus last year, but now, the government is better informed about how to deal with the menace and is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to fight the pandemic.

He appreciated that the testing capacity in the country is continuously improving and that over 17 lakh COVID tests were conducted on Wednesday.

Cumulatively, 28,44,71,979 COVID tests have so far been conducted across the country, including 17,68,190 on Wednesday.

The minister urged people with symptoms to get themselves tested at the earliest and not to panic.

He stressed on working towards improving diagnosis and helping people through tele-consultations to provide the right advice to the patients recovering at home.

The minister appreciated the Centre’s vaccination efforts and said more than 15 crore doses of the anti-COVID vaccine have been administered till date to healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above the age of 45 years.

He said the new phase of the vaccination drive will start from May 1, when the inoculation of those above the age of 18 years will start.

Lauding the Co-WIN portal, Vardhan said a seamless registration process for vaccination is being carried out through the digitally and technologically sound portal, the statement said.

The portal witnessed more than 80 lakh people registering themselves within three hours from 4 pm to 7 pm on Wednesday.

The minister further stated that vaccination is a critical component of the containment-and-management strategy of the government. The fight against the pandemic is ongoing and the government is using all its experience to tackle the situation, he added.

Vardhan visited the LHMC to take a comprehensive review of the COVID facilities available at the hospital and further strengthen those.

He first visited the IPD block, where a 240-bed facility is being set up, which will be operational within two weeks, the statement said.

Following Vardhan’s instructions, the academic activities of the college were shifted to the new academic block, resulting in further enhancement of the bed capacity at the Kalawati Saran Children Hospital and Smt. Sucheta Kriplani Hospital, which are attached to the LHMC.

The bed capacity at the Kalawati Saran Children Hospital has been increased by 30 and that of Smt. Sucheta Kriplani Hospital by 112, the statement said.

The minister dedicated the new academic block to the COVID warriors, appreciating their untiring efforts in fighting the pandemic and working tirelessly and dedicatedly for helping people in these challenging times.

He also praised the doctors, nurses and staff of the LHMC for their dedication in fighting the pandemic. He directed that further expansion of the facilities at the hospital should continue.

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