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India

Covid-19: Ease in Lockdown, Contagious Variants Cause Behind Surge in Cases, Says Govt

The minister was replying to a question posed in the Lower House which asked whether the recent surge in the number of infections is being caused by more contagious variants such as Delta and Lambda.

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A BMC health worker collects swab sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test, at Dadar station in Mumbai, Friday, July 30, 2021. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar on Friday said that the rise in the number of daily Covid-19 cases in the country can be attributed to the ease in the lockdown norms, spread of more contagious variants, and a lack of adherence to Covid-19 appropriate norms.

The minister was replying to a question posed in the Lower House which asked whether the recent surge in the number of infections is being caused by more contagious variants such as Delta and Lambda.

Pawar gave a  written reply in which she said, “The ministry of health after expert deliberations has concluded that the existing clinical management protocol for managing COVID-19 cases suffices for treatment of cases infected with variants of COVID-19 and doesn’t warrant any change”.

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“Easing of lockdown combined with pandemic fatigue, lack of community adherence to COVID appropriate behavior and evolution and circulation of more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2 viruses can be attributed for the surge in Coronavirus cases in some states and UTs,” the minister said.

Pawar also said that health was a state subject and the Centre had provided states with the adequate technical expertise needed to combat the pandemic.

She said that the government has created a three-tier system for the Covid-19 patients.

The three tiers include:

  • COVID Care Center
  • Dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC)
  • Dedicated COVID Hospital (DCH)

 According to Pawar, the system was established to ensure that cross infections do not happen between Covid and no-Covid patients.

The central government has roped in tertiary care hospitals under other ministries to supplement the hospital facilities. Further, many large temporary treatment facilities were established by the DRDO to manage the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, the minister said.

She added that the government is now building an Oxygen producing plant at every district to ensure that there is no shortage of medical Oxygen.

A Covid Drugs Management Cell (CDMC) has been set up in the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) to oversee the management of smooth supply of drugs used in COVID-19 management, the minister said.

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Talking about the efficacy of the vaccines, Pawar said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has conducted in-vitro laboratory assays to determine the neutralisation potential of variant strains of SARS-CoV-2 in comparison to the standard strain with D614G mutation. 

Similar studies have also been done by other laboratories across the world. As far as data of in-vitro laboratory neutralisation assays is concerned, in case of Alpha variant, the baseline titers of neutralising antibodies are high in both Covishield and Covaxin.

In the case of the Delta variant, the baseline titres of neutralising antibodies are very high in Covishield and significantly high in Covaxin. These are sufficient to neutralise the delta variant strain, the reply stated.

With inputs from PTI