COVID-19 second wave: India fights back, counters negative campaign

New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) As COVID-19 cases rise in South Asia, some elements have launched a campaign suggesting India has not been able to handle the crisis. In the fight against COVID-19, India is following a human centric approach to furthering global good.
According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when COVID-19 hit India the entire world was worried about India’s situation. “But today India’s fight against Corona is inspiring the entire world…India is following a human centric approach to furthering global good,” the PM had said.
He had said that the India has undertaken among the world’s largest public welfare programmes in the last six years and these efforts were aimed at giving the poor a life of dignity and opportunity. Soon after the first wave of COVID-19 struck India last year, as many as 7,740 dedicated COVID-19 facilities were set up in 483 districts across the country and adequate health infrastructure was put in place to fight the pandemic.
The public health facilities dedicated to COVID-19 management were categorised in three ways: Dedicated Covid Hospital (DCH), Dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC) and Dedicated Covid Care Centre (DCCC).
Initially, 6,56,769 isolation beds, 3,05,567 beds for confirmed cases, 3,51,204 for suspected cases, 99,492 oxygen-supported beds, 1,696 facilities with oxygen manifold and 34,076 ICU beds were set up and all the States/UTs were requested by the Government of India to notify and upload the assigned three types of Covid dedicated facilities on their websites for public information. Since then, the number of Covid care centres and other facilities have increased manifold.

India battles second wave of COVID-19

The second wave of COVID-19 has led to a rapid rise in cases and deaths across India. The country has recorded over 18.7 million cases and over 2,08,000 deaths. Experts are of the opinion that there can be several factors to explain the new surge in Covid cases. From October 2020 to mid-February 2021, India had witnessed a decline in new confirmed COVID-19 infections. This led people to having a false sense of security, dropping measures such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. Some super-spreader events, like rallies and social events too played a key role. In addition, population density is very high, especially in cities like Mumbai and New Delhi where it becomes difficult to follow Covid protocol in public places.
Instead of going for a complete lockdown, the Government of India has asked the state governments to take a call on their own and go for “smart lockdowns.” Wherever the cases are increasing the local authorities are imposing lockdowns. Only contaminated zones are being closed. This strategy has helped to keep life moving at least in the areas where the intensity of infections is less.

Oxygen supply 3 times more than it was during first wave

On May 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while chairing a high-level meeting in New Delhi on availability and supply of oxygen and medicines discussed availability of oxygen in different states. The Prime Minister took stock of the situation on oxygen availability and supply. The ministers, who attended the meeting informed the Prime Minister that the supply of oxygen is now more than three times the supply during the peak of the first wave.
PM Modi said at the meeting that states should be asked to operationalise the ventilators that have been provided by the Centre in a time-bound manner and resolve technical and training issues with the help of the manufacturers. “India has a very vibrant pharmaceutical sector and the Centre’s continued close coordination with them will ensure proper availability of all medicines,” PM Modi said.

India administers 17 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses

According to the Union Health Ministry, India is the fastest country globally to administer 17 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses. China took 119 days while the US took 115 days for reaching the same landmark. The vaccination drive in India was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated and vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.
Subsequently, it was opened for different age groups. The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed the landmark of 17 crore. These include 95,47,102 healthcare workers (HCWs) who have taken the first dose and 64,71,385 HCWs who have taken the second dose, 1,39,72,612 FLWs who have received the first dose, 77,55,283 FLWs who have taken the second dose and 20,31,854 beneficiaries in the age-group of 18-44 age group who have taken the first dose.
Besides, 5,51,79,217 and 65,61,851 beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 years have been administered the first and second doses respectively, while 5,36,74,082 and 1,49,83,217 beneficiaries above 60 years have received the first and second dose.

No discrimination in treating patients

Kashmiri separatists lodged in various jails across India have been treated at par with others. Ones who tested positive for COVID-19 were provided the best possible treatment. One of the separatists, Shahid-ul-Islam — media advisor to moderate Hurriyat leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq — who is lodged at Tihar Jail in New Delhi for his alleged involvement in a terror funding case was provided the treatment as per the Covid protocol.
According to official figures, as many as 23 prisoners are Covid positive in Jammu and Kashmir and 219 inmates are under quarantine across prisons of the Union Territory. According to a government release, as on date 4,572 inmates are lodged in the 13 jails of Jammu and Kashmir, “Of which, 23 inmates (21 from district jail Kathua, one from central jail Jammu, Kot Bhalwal and 1 from district jail Jammu) are Covid positive to whom necessary medical care is being provided.”
It further states, 219 inmates are under quarantine across prisons of Jammu and Kashmir as new prisoners undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine for 14 days. The official statement said that at present 635 inmates are lodged in the Central Jail Srinagar which included 27 female inmates and there is no Covid positive case in the jail. State Director General of Prisons, B. Srinivas, has directed the staff for strict adherence to SOPs issued to prevent spread of Covid-19 in jails.

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