‘2nd wave still not over, vaccines effective against variants’

‘2nd wave still not over, vaccines effective against variants’

New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) Warning that the second wave of Covid-19 “still not over”, central government’s 29th meet of the Group of Ministers (GoM), on Monday, advised people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour to keep themselves safe. The GoM clarified that all anti-Covid vaccines, currently available in the country, are found effective against alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants of the coronavirus.

The GoM strongly reiterated the importance of Covid appropriate behaviour at a time when restrictions are being lifted across the country. Besides, higher level of continued awareness building through sustained Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaigns was highlighted.

Dr V.K. Paul emphasized on the benefits of mask wearing and hand hygiene while ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava also cautioned that the “second wave of Covid-19 has still not subsided”, noting that 80 districts in the country still have high positivity rate.

Bhargava, who also holds charge of secretary (health research), advised against any laxity at this stage.

Keeping aside rumours that Covid vaccines available in India will fail in protecting people from new variants, Bhargava clarified that all vaccines being administered in the country have been found effective against the alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants of the virus.

The announcement, which really would help people getting relief from fear of being infected with the new variants of the virus, comes during the 29th meeting of the high-level GoM being chaired by union health and family welfare minister Harsh Vardhan through video conferencing.

In the meeting, Dr Sujeet K. Singh, Director (NCDC) presented a detailed report on the trajectory of Covid in the states and union territories (UTs) and a granular analysis based on epidemiological findings of the trajectory of the pandemic in each state pointing out critical parameters like growth of cases, concentration of cases in particular districts and other trends like fatality and the variants of Covid driving the infection in the affected states.

Active cases continue to be concentrated mainly in Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Odisha, which are reporting growth rate more than the national average. While 19 states are reporting fatality figures in single digit (less than 10), four states of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are reporting more than hundred deaths daily.

The health minister apprised the GoM members on the trajectory of Mucormycosis infections that have occurred in this second phase of Covid-19. Total of 40,845 cases have been reported of which 31,344 cases are rhinocerebral in nature. Fatality from the infections stands at 3,129. Of the total numbers, 34,940 patients had Covid, about 26,187 were co-morbid for diabetes while 21,523 of those infected were on steroids. As many as 13,083 patients were in the age group 18-45 (32 per cent), 17,464 were in the age group 45-60 (42 per cent) while 10,082 (24 per cent) patients were above 60 years of age.

Harsh Vardhan was joined by civil aviation minister Hardeep S. Puri, minister of state for home Nityanand Rai and minister of state for health and family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey. Vinod K. Paul, member (Health), NITI Aayog was also present virtually.

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