Eleven states and Union territories during a meeting with the Centre on Saturday raised the demands for an increase in the supply of oxygen cylinders, vaccine doses and Remdesivir for hospitals to fight against Covid19.

The health ministers of 11 states and Union territories raised the issues during a high-level review meeting, chaired by Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

The meeting reviewed the measures taken by the states and Union territories for prevention, containment and management of the recent surge in Covid19 cases.

“The issues of augmenting supply of oxygen cylinders; stepping up supply of Remdesivir in hospitals; adding to the ventilator stock; and enhanced supply of vaccine doses were raised by almost all the states and UTs,” the Union health ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

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States, including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, which have been badly affected by the second wave of Covid19, took part in the meeting.

The Delhi government requested for additional beds in the central government hospitals as was done in 2020 to help tide over the emergent health crisis.

The meeting lasted for more than three hours.

The Union health minister presented a snapshot of the unprecedented rise in new cases at the outset.

He noted that India reported its highest single-day spike on April 12, 2021 which was also the highest number of daily new cases reported in the world.

India contributed 22.8% of the total cases reported worldwide on April 12, 2021.

Dr Vardhan said, “India is currently reporting the sharpest growth rate of 7.6% in new COVID cases, which is 1.3 times higher than case growth rate of 5.5% reported in June 2020. This is leading to an alarming rise in daily number of Active Cases, which currently stand at 16,79,000.”

“There is also a sharp growth of 10.2% in the number of deaths. The widening gap between Daily New Cases and Daily New Recoveries reflects that the infection is spreading at a much faster rate than recoveries with consistently growing active cases,” Dr Vardhan said.

All the 11 states/UTs have already crossed their highest reported daily case threshold with some districts like Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Thane, Lucknow, Raipur, Ahmedabad and Aurangabad also following the same pattern, the statement said.

Dr Harsh Vardhan detailed the corresponding rise in health infrastructure to cope with the crisis.

“From just 1 lab at the start of the Pandemic, we now have 2463 labs that have a combined daily testing capacity of 15 lakhs. 14,95,397 tests conducted in the last 24 hours have increased the total tests conducted to 26,88,06,123,” Dr Vardhan said.

The three-tier health infrastructure to treat COVID according to severity now includes 2084 Dedicated COVID Hospitals (of which 89 are under the Centre and the rest 1995 with States), 4043 Dedicated COVID Health Centres and 12,673 COVID Care Centres.

They have 18,52,265 beds in total including the 4,68,974 beds in the Dedicated COVID hospitals.

The Union health minister said 34,228 ventilators were granted to the states by the Centre last year.
Dr. Vardhan assured a fresh supply of the lifesaving machines – 1,121 ventilators are to be given to Maharashtra, 1,700 to Uttar Pradesh, 1,500 to Jharkhand, 1,600 to Gujarat, 152 to Madhya Pradesh and 230 to Chhattisgarh, the statement said.

Taking note of the active surge in cases witnessed since last February in which most states have now crossed their highest tally, Dr. Harsh Vardhan exhorted the states to plan in advance and increase COVID hospitals, oxygenated beds and other relevant infrastructure to deal with any further surge in cases.

He requested the states to give special focus on the prominent 5-6 cities in their administration, map medical colleges to either these cities or adjoining 2-3 districts.

The states were asked to seek out positive cases with the onset of early symptoms so that prompt and effective treatment checks the deterioration of health in the diseased.

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