India has conducted the second highest number of tests for detection of COVID-19 cases in the world at 11.96 crore with rapid antigen tests comprising 49 per cent and RT-PCR 46 per cent of the total tests done till Tuesday morning, the Union health ministry said.
Five per cent of the remaining tests were carried out using CBNAAT and TrueNat till this morning, it said.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a press conference that though such high number of tests are conducted in India, the positivity rate is reducing and it has come down to 7.18 per cent while, the daily positivity rate in the last week was4.2 per cent, he said.
"More than 11.96 crore COVID-19 tests have been conducted in India till now, which is the second highest in the world. On an average, 11,18,072 tests were conducted daily last week," Bhushan said.
"If we take into account the last two weeks' figures, we are testing more than any other country in the world," he said.
In India, 46 per cent of the tests conducted for detection of COVID-19 till Tuesday morning were RT-PCR tests, 49 per cent were rapid antigen tests and five per cent tests were carried out using CBNAAT and TrueNat, Bhushan said while responding to another question.
"This figure is dynamic and keeps on changing," he said.
Bhushan further informed that India still figures among the countries having lowest cases per million population. While the world average of cases per million is 6,439, India has 6,225 cases per million.
He said that India recorded an average of three new COVID-19 deaths per million population in the last seven days as against the global average of seven new deaths per million population.
"In India, 235 new cases per million population were reported in the last seven days, whereas the global average of new cases per million population stands at 482," he said.
India still has one of the lowest count of 92 deaths per million population, while the world average is 160 deaths per million population, Bhushan highlighted.
This apart, the number of active cases has gone below 6 per cent in the country, while the recovery rate is more than 92 per cent.
"India's COVID-19 recoveries have crossed 79 lakh, which is the highest in world. On an average, 51,476 people recovered daily in the last week," Bhushan said.
Bhushan also said that 62 per cent of new COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours were reported from six states and union territories -- Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab.
He said that54 per cent of new cases have been reported in a span of 24 hours are from 6 states and union territories with Delhi reporting the highest of 5,023 new infections, followed by West Bengal reporting 3,907 new cases and then Kerala reporting 3,593 new cases.
Maharashtra reported 3,277 new cases, Haryana reported 2,427 new cases and Tamil Nadu reported 2,257 new cases in a day.
Stating this factual information on COVID-19 in the country, Health Secretary reiterated and appealed that everyone should be cautious in the ongoing festival season and always wear face-cover or mask in the proper manner, maintain 6 feet distance from others and wash hands with soap and water frequently.
Responding to a question at a press briefing on the increasing number of cases in Delhi, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said factors such as pollution, cold weather, festivals, wedding season, apart from travels in Delhi-NCR are leading to gatherings which is resulting in spike in COVID-19 cases.
"A third spike has come now in Delhi after the first two spikes in June and September, which is showing more cases than before," he further added.
Responding to a question on whether Delhi has reached the stage of community transmission and if cases would increase during festivals, Bhushan said at time of festival or marriage when people gather and do not follow COVID appropriate behaviour, there are chances of spread of infection.
"Discussion on community transmission is quite often informed by less than adequate information and facts. It should rather be based on science and facts," he said.
In reply to a query on vaccine administration, Bhushan, "Whenever regulatory approval for vaccines are provided, we have a plan which would ensure that vaccines would be available to all priority population groups, irrespective of the region where they reside".
"We are in a position to not only augment and strengthen, but also add to our cold chain capabilities". Any large scale immunization would not only require a substantial increase in the number of cold chain points, but also a substantial increase in the number of cold chain equipment," he added.
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