Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that a total of 40,845 cases of black fungus or mucormycosis have been reported in India till now.

The death toll due to black fungus cases in the country is 3129, the health minister added.

Vardhan, who chaired the 29th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19, told the members that 31,344 cases of black fungus were found to be rhinocerebral in nature.

“Of the total numbers, 34,940 patients had COVID (85.5%), 26,187 (about 64.11%) were co-morbid for diabetes while 21,523 (52.69%) of those infected were on steroids. 13,083 patients were in the age group 18-45 (32%), 17,464 were in the age group 45-60 (42%) while 10,082 (24%) patients were 60+ years of age,” he added.

The health minister also discussed the COVID-19 situation in the country and the pace of the vaccination drive.

In the last 24 hours, India had only 46,148 Covid cases, while the active cases significantly declined to 5,72,994, he said.

The recovery rate has been steadily increasing and stands at 96.80 per cent as of date and 58,578 recoveries were registered in the last 24 hours.

“Today is the 46th day in succession where our daily recoveries outnumbered new cases. Our case fatality rate has been 1.30%, daily positivity rate at 2.94% and weekly positivity rate also stands at 2.94% which has been consistently below 5% for 21 days now,” said Vardhan.

Speaking on the COVID-19 vaccination drive, Vardhan said, “India has achieved another milestone in COVID-19 vaccination and has overtaken the US in a total number of Covid vaccine doses administered so far. The US started vaccinating against Covid from December 14, 2020, whereas the drive was launched in India on January 16.”

“Under the new policy of Covid vaccination, the Union government is procuring and supplying (free of cost) 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the vaccine manufacturers in the country to states and union territories. Till Monday morning (8 am), 32,36,63,297 vaccine doses have been administered in various categories,” he added.

The GoM strongly reiterated the importance of Covid-appropriate behaviour, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.

A higher level of continued awareness building through sustained IEC campaigns was highlighted.

NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul emphasized the benefits of mask-wearing and hand hygiene.

DrBalramBhargava, Secretary (Health Research) and Director General (ICMR), also cautioned that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has still not subsided as 80 districts in the country still have high positivity, the statement said.

He advised against any laxity at this stage and also explained that vaccines have been found effective against the alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants of COVID-19.

Dr Sujeet K Singh, Director (National Centre for Disease Control), presented a detailed report on the trajectory of Covid in states and UTs.

He presented a granular analysis based on epidemiological findings of the trajectory of the pandemic in each state pointing out critical parameters like the growth of cases, the concentration of cases in particular districts and other trends like fatality and the variants of COVID-19 driving the infection in the affected states, the statement said.

Active Covid cases continue to be concentrated mainly in Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Odisha, which are reporting growth rates more than the national COVID-19 growth rate, it said.

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 100 deaths daily.

NeerjaSekhar, Additional Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, apprised the GoM on how issues like vaccine hesitancy are being addressed through different mediums, the statement said.

Vardhan was joined by Hardeep S Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, NityanandRai, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health.

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