NEW DELHI: Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi interacted with floor leaders of all parties of both houses of the Parliament to keep them informed of the trajectory of COVID-19 in India and the Public Health Response to the Pandemic.
PM thanked all leaders for participating in the meeting and giving very practical inputs and suggestions and added that inputs from different parts of the country help immensely in policy design.
PM said that the pandemic should not be a matter of politics & is a matter of concern for entire humanity. He added that mankind hasn’t seen such a pandemic in the last 100 years.
PM also spoke about the efforts being made to ensure one oxygen plant in every district across the country.
PM informed leaders about the rising speed of India’s vaccination program and how the first 10 crore doses took around 85 days while the last 10 crore doses have taken 24 days.
He also informed the leaders that the daily closing stocks show an average of more than 1.5 crore vaccines at the end of the day throughout the country.
PM stressed the need to properly plan the vaccination drives at the district level based on the advance availability indicated by the Central Government to ensure no inconvenience to the people.
PM said that it is a matter of concern that around a significant number of Healthcare workers and Frontline workers are yet to get the vaccine even after 6 months since the drive commenced & added that states need to be more proactive towards this.
PM spoke about the need to stay vigilant looking at the situation in various countries. PM added that mutations make this disease very unpredictable, and hence we all need to stay together and fight this disease.
PM also spoke about India’s unique experience of using technology in this pandemic in the form of Cowin & Aarogya Setu.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda lauded the PM for his constant monitoring & working tirelessly through the pandemic. Leaders across parties thanked the PM for his efforts through the pandemic. Leaders also spoke about their own unique experiences with the disease. They also highlighted the situation in various states and spoke about the vaccination drives in their respective states. They also spoke about the need to constantly ensure Covid appropriate behaviour. Leaders unanimously appreciated the presentation given to them for its rich information and insights.
A detailed presentation was given by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. He informed that as of date, only 8 States have more than 10,000 cases with majority of caseload in the State of Maharashtra and Kerala. Just 5 states have a positivity rate more than 10%.
It was informed that throughout the Pandemic, the Prime Minister held 20 meetings with CMs of States while the Union Health Minister held 29 meeting with States. The Union Cabinet Secretary briefed the State Chief Secretaries 34 times while 166 Central Team deployed to aid 33 States/UTs in COVID-19 management
India had augmented its drug availability throughout the Pandemic. CDSCO permitted the increase in number of Remdesivir manufacture site from 22 in March to 62 in June which increased the production capacity from 38 to 122 lakh vials per month.
Similarly, Import of Liposomal Amphotericin was encouraged which saw the cumulative allocation rise from just 45,050 to 14.81 lakh. While cases are declining at present, States have been advised to maintain buffer stocks of drugs to address any future surge in Covid cases with stress on minimum 8 drugs identified by the Union Health Ministry: Enoxaparin, Methyl Prednisolone, Dexamethasone, Remdesivir, Tocilizumab (for COVID-19 treatment), Amphoterecin B Deoxycholate, Posaconazole(for COVID associated Mucormycosis), Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) (for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)IS-C). The Union Health Ministry will facilitate procurement for North East States and UTs.
The members were also apprised of India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy. The strategy aims
• To provide free vaccination to all adult Indians, safely, as fast as possible.
• To protect on priority Healthcare Workers & Frontline Workers.
• To protect those vulnerable population i.e. 45 years and above, who contribute to more than 80% of COVID related mortality in the country.
Based on scientific & epidemiological evidence and global best practices, each phase of the exercise broad-based the vaccine coverage across new priority groups based on dynamicmapping to the production and availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
India has administered the most number of vaccine doses (41.2 Cr) in comparison to US (33.8 Cr), Brazil (12.4 Cr), Germany (8.6 Cr), UK (8.3 Cr). 12.3Cr (42%) vaccine doses were administered in urban areas while 17.11 Cr(58%) in rural areas in the period 1st May to 19th July. In the same period, 21.75 Cr males (53%), 18.94 Cr females (47%) and 72,834 other-gendered persons also received the vaccine.
The guiding principles of Test, Track, Treat, Vaccinate and COVID Appropriate Behaviour were highlighted as the way forward in India’s war with COVID-19.