India witnesses highest single day increase in COVID new cases, deaths

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New Delhi / Mumbai, May 5, 2020 : The number of COVID-19 positive cases stands at 46,433 as on date, while 32,138 people are under active medical supervision as on today. 1,020 recoveries have been reported in the last 24 hours, which is the highest till date. While 1568 deaths have occurred till date, 12,726 people have been cured as on date, which takes the recovery rate to 27.41%. Also, 3,900 new cases and 195 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours. This is the highest one-day increase so far in the number of confirmed cases and deaths. This was informed by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Lav Agarwal, at the daily media briefing on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on COVID-19, held at National Media Centre, PIB New Delhi today.

Since we are dealing with an infectious disease, timely reporting of cases and their management is very crucial, further stated the Joint Secretary. He said, some states were noticed to have a gap in this respect, which has been addressed after due persuasion. Non-reporting of COVID-19 cases timely is the reason for the sudden spurt in the number of cases since yesterday. It is important for states to effectively implement contact tracing, active case search and clinical management of cases on basis of the reported cases, he said.

The Joint Secretary stated that:

Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan reviewed Acute Encephalitis Syndrome cases, through a video conference with Bihar’s Health Minister and assured all types of support to strengthen the health system of the state through National Health Mission.

Group of Ministers held its 14th meeting on COVID-19 today, under the chairmanship of Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. Infrastructure, such as PPE, oxygen and oxygen cylinders, ventilators and N95 masks, has been reviewed. It has stated in the meeting that Arogya Setu app has to be promoted further for facilitating risk assessment and providing time alert messages to people.

Additional guidelines on the rational use of PPE have been issued on May 1, for the health workers and others engaged in non-COVID hospitals and non-COVID treatment areas of COVID hospitals. The additional guidelines provide use of PPE according to risk profile of the area in each type of hospital setting. Full complement of PPE is required in high risk areas, N-95 masks and gloves in moderate risk areas while triple layer medical mask and examination glove would be sufficient in low risk areas.

This is in continuance with the guideline already issued on the rational use of PPE on 24 March, 2020 by the Ministry of Health.

Different levels of PPEs have been prescribed for different areas like:

In OPD – Help desk / registration counter, Doctors chamber, pharmacy counter, Sanitary Staff
Chambers of Dental /ENT doctors / Ophthalmology doctors in clinical management & Pre anaesthetic check-up clinic
In IPD – Ward/ICU, Labour room, Operation theatre
In the Emergency Department and other ancillary services like Lab, blood bank and laundry services etc.
While we are all together putting all efforts to fight against COVID-19, it is also important to provide non-COVID health services to citizens. Guidelines for delivery of non-essential health services have already been issued on 14th April. We have to ensure that in government as well as private non-COVID hospitals, all services are provided on the basis of zoning criteria of that particular district. Immunisation; maternal child health services; services for critically-ill patients like dialysis, cancer, diabetes, TB and blood-donation services should be continued in a proper manner.
During this season, it is important to also work to prevent dengue, chikungunya and other such vector-borne diseases. It is important for the field functionaries to provide these services in a smooth manner at rural and urban areas.

Stating that COVID-19 has now spread to all countries of the world, Shri Agarwal said, along with COVID case management, as we ease lockdown measures, we have to fight this battle with a lot of responsibility. Reiterating PM’s appeal, he said, this battle has to be fought by both the Government and every citizen of the country. Hence, now, when the lockdown is eased, every citizen’s responsibility will also increase along with Government’s responsibility. We can win this battle only by the shared efforts of the entire government and the whole society and we have to change our lifestyle and the way we work, he said. Shri Agarwal called for Community Ownership, by which every citizen contributes, as part of his social responsibility, to break the chain of transmission. Recalling PM’s words – “This battle of India should be people-driven”, he urged people to together set an example in front of the whole world.

The Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs Ms Punya Salila Srivastava briefed that:

Government of India has given permission for facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner. The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships. The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared and will be issued today in this regard.
Indian Railways has run around 62 special trains for migrant workers. 70,000 workers have taken this facility. Today, 13 more such trains are expected to start journey.
According to the national directives on lockdown, every person has to use a face-mask and maintain a physical distancing of ‘Do Gaj Ki Doori’ in public places. Also, spitting in public places is a punishable offence; use of paan, gutka, alcohol and tobacco in these places is prohibited.

It is important to maintain social distancing in shops. Gathering of more than 5 people in one place/shop or organization is not allowed; not more than 50 people can be allowed to gather in wedding-related functions; not more than 20 people permitted at funerals; social distancing too needs to be followed on all these occasions.
According to the national directives for workplaces, thermal scanning, hand wash, sanitizers and face-masks need to be made available in adequate quantity. Social distancing needs to be ensured at workplaces and transport used for reaching workplaces. Staggered shifts and lunch breaks need to be provided for ensuring social distancing. Employers/Head of Offices need to get every member at the workplace to register on the Aarogya Setu app.
It is also important to sanitize workplaces in between shifts and from time to time.
Information on nearest COVID-19 hospitals and quarantine locations need to be made available at workplaces; physical meetings are to be avoided. Information and orientation/training on maintaining hygiene and sanitation should be provided.

In reply to a media query on contact tracing, he said, it is important that each and every contact of positive patients needs to be traced. Conducting surveillance for SARI and ILI symptoms in facilities in containment zones and otherwise, yields very valuable data and guides further action, he stated.

Responding to another media query on the effect of lockdown, Shri Agarwal said, lockdown has yielded very positive results, doubling time has improved from 3.4 days before lockdown to 12 days now. At the same time, it is important that we sustain the momentum, he cautioned.