New Delhi: The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Sunday said that as the country is dealing with an infectious pandemic, the number of the cases may be exponential but the government is adequately prepared for management of coronavirus cases.
Addressing the daily press briefing, Joint Secretary, Health, Lav Agarwal said: "This is a pandemic and numbers can be exponential. Our effort is to take advanced steps."
"A total of 8,356 positive cases have been reported in the country. At least 909 new cases and 34 deaths have been recorded in 24 hours. A good news is that 74 people have been cured in the last 24 hours taking the total number of cured people to 716. Total 273 deaths have been reported so far."
About the preparations, Agarwal said: "On March 29, we had 979 positive cases and 20 per cent of these cases (196) needed critical care and oxygen. That time, 41,900 dedicated COVID beds were available in 163 state-run hospitals. On April 4, when we required 580 beds, we had 67,500 beds, on April 9, 1,100 beds were required but there were 8,5000 beds available in the country.
"The total number of the cases has increased and we have 8,356 positive cases, of these 20 per cent cases need ICU support, that means today 1,671 patients need oxygen support and critical care treatment and we have 1,05,000 dedicated Covid beds available in the country in 601 hospitals. This figure is important to show that the government is planning things in advance and is over-prepared."
In addition, "we are also increasing the number of dedicated COVID hospitals and isolation facilities as per the evolving situations and precautionary measures because this is a pandemic and number can be exponential. Our effort is to take advanced steps."
Agarwal also said: "In AIIMS Delhi, there are 250 beds including 50 ICU beds. There are high dependent units attached with few beds and there are 70 ventilators. In Safdarjang (Hospital), one complete block has been converted into COVID block and has 500 beds. We have provided 1,680 beds to Andhra Pradesh. As on today, there were 148 ventilators available, we provided 444 additional ventilators. One special medical officer is appointed in every state."
He also added that 9,000 beds were identified by the army and 7,000 beds are available in military hospitals. Waterproof tents are also available in far-flung areas and two patients can be kept in one tent, he said.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also expressed worries that a resurge in the cases of novel Coronavirus cases in countries such as China, Japan and South Korea was a cause for concern.
The Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry, told media that most of the facts about the novel coronavirus are still unknown, therefore, maintaining social distancing is the only key in combating COVID-19.
He suggested that people should follow social distancing even after the lockdown is lifted.
"Not much is known about this virus. Different facts about it are continuously coming before us on a daily basis and we are reacting accordingly. A resurge of cases in China, Japan and South Korea in the last few days, is a cause for concern. It is very important to ensure that we continue to follow our containment and social distancing measures like we are following today," said Agarwal.
The Joint Health Secretary stressed social distancing even after the lockdown period gets over.
"We will always insist that even if lockdown is not there, every individual in the country should maintain social distancing. We have been consistently highlighting that social distancing is a very important component in fighting coronavirus because it is an infectious disease," said Agarwal.
Over 40 COVID-19 Vaccines Under Development: ICMR
Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, more than 40 vaccines were under development but none had reached the next stage.
Speaking to the media, Manoj Murhekar of the ICMR said, "There are more than 40 candidate vaccines under development. But none of them has reached the next stage. India is also making efforts to develop a vaccine. But as of now, there is no vaccine."
He said there were 219 -- 151 government and 68 private -- COVID-19 testing facilities in the country.
"Till 2.30 p.m. Sunday, 1,86,906 samples were tested. Of them, 7,953 (4.3 per cent), tested positive. In the last five days, 15,747 samples per day were being tested. Of this, 584 samples were coming positive per day," Murhekar said.
On Sunday, the total coronavirus cases in India was 8,446. While 764 people have been cured/discharged, 273 people died and 1 person migrated, as per the Health Ministry data.