The Union Health Ministry on Monday said the surge in Covid-19 cases in some states including Delhi and Madhya Pradesh have shown early signs of plateauing in daily new infection cases. Moreover, an increasing trend in coronavirus cases were reported in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
During a press briefing over Covid-19 situation in the country, the Health Ministry said that 12 states are cause of concern as they have more than 1 lakh active cases. “Nearly 22 states have more than 15 per cent of positivity rate. Some states are showing increasing trends in Covid-19 cases, these states should take required precautionary measures. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are among those states. In Maharashtra, 12 districts have witnessed a decline in cases,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry.
“We are seeing a positive approach in recoveries too. On May 2, the recovery rate was at 78 per cent and on May 3 it climbed up to almost 82 per cent. These are early gains on which we have to work on regularly,” he added.
Mentioning that 12 states have started Phase 3 vaccines, Agarwal said, “0.2 crore people aged between 18-44 years have been vaccinated in the country.”
He also said, “Journalists services are very important to us. We consider you as front line workers.”
Speaking on the supply of oxygen to treat critical Covid-19 patients in the country, Agarwal said oxygen plants in industries like steel plants, refineries with petrochemical units, power plants etc. which produces gaseous oxygen should be tapped for medical use.
“Industrial units which produce gaseous oxygen of requisite purity closer to cities are being identified and temporary Covid-19 Care Centres with oxygenated beds proposed to be established near that source. A pilot for five such facilities has already been initiated. Nearly 10,000 oxygenated beds can be made available through this initiative. State governments being encouraged to setup more such facilities. 1,500 PSA oxygen generation plants are in the process of being setup,” he said, adding, “We are working with state governments to fix oxygen supply. It is a huge channel.”
Meanwhile, the central government is also exploring the feasibility of converting existing nitrogen plants to produce oxygen. “14 such industries have been identified for converting their PSA nitrogen plants to produce oxygen duly replacing Carbon Molecular Sieve (CMS) with Zeolite Molecular Sieve (ZMS) and other associated changes. 37 nitrogen plants already identified for conversion with the help of Industry Association. Such modified nitrogen plants can then either be shifted to nearby hospitals or supply oxygen through tankers.”
He also noted that there is a need to focus on the foot cause in managing spread of infection to avoid stress on healthcare infrastructure.
Highlighting on the same, Additional Secretary MHA, Piyush Goyal said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued some instructions under Disaster Management Act. “It has requested States to identify districts of concern wherein the case positivity is 10 per cent or more in the last one week and bed occupancy is more than 60 per cent on either oxygen supported or ICU beds.”
“14 days to break the chain of transmission duly following epidemiological principles. Oxygen production has increased in the last few weeks and oxygen is being imported. Empty tankers are being airlifted,” said Goyal and appealed people not to hoard oxygen cylinders. “Black marketing of oxygen cylinders must stop,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria asked people not to get CT scan for mild Covid-19 symptoms. “Risk of cancer increases by getting CT scans. Biomarkers, CT scans are not needed for mild infection.” He further said that Remdesivir or plasma does not have a promising data.
The daily Covid-19 cases in India showed a slight dip with 3,68,147 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, taking the total tally of cases to 1,99,25,604, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The death toll increased to 2,18,959 with 3,417 daily new fatalities, the data showed. While the country recorded 4,01,993 new cases on May 1, it had registered 3,92,488 fresh cases on May 2.