India very close to bringing pandemic under control: Health ministry

India's current case positivity rate of 5.11 per cent suggests that COVID-19 is close to being under control, said the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at a press briefing on Tuesday

In India, variants first identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil have been found.

India is very close to bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control considering its current overall case positivity rate of 5.11 per cent, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan made the comments at a press conference after quoting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) parameters for countries to determine that the pandemic has been brought under control. The WHO mandates that for 140 tests per million being conducted per day, if case positivity rate is at 5 per cent or below, it means the pandemic is under control. “We are very close to that mark at 5.11 per cent overall case positivity,” Bhushan told reporters.

According to him, India has recorded 113 COVID-19 deaths per million and conducted 1,57,684 tests per million population, till date.

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Also read: COVID vaccination drive on fast track, India quickest to reach 40-lakh mark

Further, he said that although certain states are witnessing a surge in active virus infections, India’s active cases are less than 2 per cent, while recoveries are well over 97 per cent.

Maharashtra and Kerala, which have been witnessing an upsurge in the past few weeks, account for 75 per cent of the total active cases. The health ministry has deputed several central teams to states like Tamil Nadu and Punjab, where numbers are spiking as well.

However, Bhushan warned against taking the virus “lightly” even as the country entered the second phase of its vaccination programme on Monday (March 1). He also provided statistics on the number of people who have been vaccinated so far. 2,08,791 people above 60 or those aged 45-60 with co-morbidities have been administered the first dose of COVID vaccine from Monday 9 am till Tuesday 1 pm, said Bhushan.

Also read: India did 2.03 million COVID vaccinations till Jan 26, says Govt

Even as 50 lakh people have logged into the CoWIN website and registered for the vaccination programme, more than 1.48 crores doses have been administered till 1 pm today. Out of this, 2.08 lakh doses have been given to people in the 45-59 age group with co-morbidities and people above 60, Bhushan added.

Meanwhile, government officials requested the public to practise caution and continue to scrupulously comply with COVID-appropriate behaviour. “Please avoid large gatherings, parties, weddings etc. These could be super spreading events,” Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, told Mint website.

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