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15 most-impacted nations have seen 83 times more deaths, 34 times more infections than India: Health ministry

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The 15 most-impacted countries due to COVID-19, with a cumulative population almost equal to that of India, have seen 83 times more deaths and 34 times more infections, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday as the nationwide cases registered a record single-day spike of 5,611.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 3,303 and the number of cases climbed to 10,6750 in the country registering an increase of140 deaths and the record jump in a 24-hour span since Tuesday8 AM.

The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 61,149 while 42,298 people have recovered so far.

Addressing a briefing to provide updates on the COVID-19 situation in the country, Joint Secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal said that 6.39 per cent of the total number of active COVID-19 cases in the country needed hospital support.

About 2.94 per cent of the active COVID-19 cases needed oxygen support, 3 per cent intensive care units (ICU) and 0.45 per cent required ventilator support.

"Only around 6.39 per cent of COVID-19 cases need either oxygen support or ICU or ventilator support; many people are recovering due to early identification. At the same time, we are also upgrading our healthcare infrastructure," Agarwal said.

"During lockdown, we have upgraded our hospital infrastructure, including oxygen supported beds, ICU beds and ventilators. Our efforts give us confidence that we are ready and equipped, along with states, to manage COVID-19 cases," he added.

Agarwal said the health ministry analysed the data from the recently released WHO situation report and found that while cases per lakh of world population stood at 62, in India, the figure in India was 7.9.

"Despite similar population cumulatively, total cases of COVID-19 in top 15 most impacted countries is 34 times that of India and total deaths is 83 times that of India," the joint secretary said.

The 15 most impacted countries including the US, Russia, Spain, Brazil, the UK, Italy France and Germany have together registered about 273,203 deaths while India has recorded 3,303 fatalities so far.

Again, these 15 countries together have reported about 36.45 lakh cases while India so far has recorded 1,06,750 COVID-19 cases.

The cumulative population of these 15 most impacted countries is around 142 crore while India alone has a population around 137 crore.

Agarwal further said that so far, India has about 0.2 COVID-19 deaths per lakh population as against the global figure of 4.1.

Among the countries with high COVID-19 casualties, the US with 89,272 fatalities has 27 deaths per lakh population while the UK has reported 34,796 deaths and has approximately 52 deaths per lakh population.

Spain with 27,709 fatalities has a mortality of 59 per lakh while Germany with 8007 has a mortality of 10 per lakh population.

"While our deaths are a matter of grief, we find that six countries have reported more than 10,000 COVID-19 deaths, together with states and citizens. We have relatively been able to manage the situation, though the challenge still continues," Agarwal said.

Among the countries with very high load of coronavirus cases, the US, with 14,77,516 instances of the infection, has around 442 cases per lakh population. The UK has reported 2,46,410 cases and has around 371 cases per lakh population.

Spain with 2,31,606 cases and Italy with 2,25,86 cases have around 496 cases per lakh and 374 per lakh respectively.

The relatively low death figures represent timely case identification and clinical management of the cases, Agarwal said.

When the lockdown started, the COVID-19 recovery rate was 7.1 per cent which gradually improved to 39.62 per cent, he said.

The focus on clinical management and recovery has resulted in the improvement in the recovery rate, he said.

"More than 39.6 per cent of the confirmed cases have recovered bringing the total to 42,298 recoveries, as of today. This is a reminder that the disease is curable and the clinical management protocols adopted by India are effective," Agarwal said.

He said the government's focus will be on stringent containment measures, hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, environmental sanitation and conversion of physical distancing into a life norm.

Responding to a question on whether the government is planning to drop Hydroxychloroquine from the COVID-19 treatment plan and also a preventive medication against the infection,Headof Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR, Dr Raman RGangakhedkar said, "A decision in this regard will be taken following a review of all the evidences we are collecting."

Gangakhedkar further said 25.36 lakh COVID-19 tests have been done till 12.30 pm on Tuesday. For the second time, more than one lakh tests were conducted within a span of 24 hours.

"There are 555 testing laboratories and 89,466 tests (were) done in ICMR labs yesterday (Tuesday)," he said.

Meanwhile, the ICMR has issued revised guidelines for TrueNat testing for COVID-19 saying the diagnostic machines used for testing drug-resistant tuberculosis can now be used for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases. "TrueNat system is now a comprehensive assay for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases".

The total 3,303 fatalities reported so far include 1,325deaths from Maharashtra, 719 from Gujarat, 258 from Madhya Pradesh, 250 from West Bengal, 168 from Delhi, 143 from Rajasthan, 123 from Uttar Pradesh, 84 from Tamil Nadu and 52 from Andhra Pradesh.

According to the health ministry's website, more than 70 per cent of the deaths are due to co-morbidities.

The total confirmed cases include37,136 from Maharashtra, followed by Tamil Nadu at 12,448, Gujarat at 12,140, Delhi at 10,554 Rajasthan at 5,845, Madhya Pradesh at 5,465, Uttar Pradesh at 4,926, West Bengal at 2,961, Andhra Pradesh at 2,532 and Punjab at 2,002.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 20 2020. 22:16 IST