The Union Health Ministry on Friday clarified that no community transmission of coronavirus COVID-19 in India has taken place yet but asked the people to remain aware and alert. It also asked people to not panic.
Addressing a press brief, Ministry of Health Joint Secretary Lav Agrawal said that the total number of positive cases in the country has reached 6,412 and death toll at 199. In the last 24 hours, a total of 678 new cases and 33 deaths have been recorded.
The Health Ministry said, "If there is a community transmission, we will first let you know. Yesterday, only 0.2 per cent of the nationwide test of 16,002 tests was found positive."
Speaking on the availability of the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, he said that India has a stock of 3.28 crore hydroxychloroquine tablets. He added that rapid diagnostics kits have also been sanctioned. "We have a domestic requirement of 1 crore hydroxychloroquine tablets while we have 3.28 crore hydroxychloroquine tablets available now," said Agrawal.
On misbehaviour with health workers, he said that they are on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19 and any type of misbehaviour with them is harmful to the people. "Incidents of misbehaviour with them negatively affects their morale. Wrong behaviour for front line worker is not correct. We thanked them on April 5. If there is any case of abuse from them, then their morals are down," he added.
He also asked, "It is also a disease. Not to be afraid and afraid, but if any one is ill, then he comes in front, not scared."
The official said, "In January, we started testing coronavirus infection from a lab. Today, 146 government labs are doing sample tests, while 67 private labs are doing sample tests."
He also assured that the government's Rs 15,000 crore package will help in the fight against COVID-19. He added that guidelines for blood transfusion have been issued.
The Centre on April 9 sanctioned Rs 15000 crore to the states and union territories for India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package. The funds sanctioned will be utilized for immediate COVID-19 Emergency Response (amount of Rs 7774 crores) and rest for medium-term support (1-4 years) to be provided under mission mode approach.
The key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit COVID-19 in India through the development of diagnostics and COVID-19 dedicated treatment facilities, centralized procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs required for treatment of infected patients.
It also aims at strengthening and building resilient national and state health systems to support prevention and preparedness for future disease outbreaks, setting up of laboratories and bolster surveillance activities, bio-security preparedness, pandemic research and proactively engage communities and conduct risk communication activities. These interventions and initiatives would be implemented under the overall umbrella of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.