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IMA Asks Politicians Not to Give “False Sense of Security” against Covid

IMA Asks Politicians Not to Give “False Sense of Security” against Covid

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Mar 8: For the politicians, the Corona pandemic seems to have ended in India, but the medical practitioners hold a different view.

After statements by the union health minister Harsh Vardhan and his Delhi state government counterpart Satyendar Jain citing “end of pandemic,” the Indian Medical Association has advised the political leaders not to make “unauthorized” statements creating a “false sense of security” among the people.

While the Supreme Court has decided to revert to hybrid physical hearing on some days of the week from March 15, Parliament is returning to normal pre-Covid schedule from Tuesday with both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha deciding to hold parallel sittings that remained disrupted for the last one year since the outbreak of the pandemic in March, last year.

After Vardhan and Jain hailed nearing the “end of the pandemic,” the IMA, which had been involved in a running battle with the government over the deaths of medical practitioners in Covid, has cautioned politicians and the government about invoking a “false sense of security”.

“It is painful to note the discussion on endemic vs pandemic status of diseases is echoing in the political corridors, however it ought to be substantiated by scientific evidence by the World Health Organisation or ICMR only,” the top doctors’ body said in a statement.

Highlighting the deaths of 740 of its frontline workers to COVID-19, the IMA has urged “fellow citizens to be vigilant” about wearing masks and physical distancing.

“The last one week has shown 35 to 40 per cent increase in the number of cases from different parts of the state and even in capital India the daily average has risen up from 100 to 140 patients,” the IMA said.

“Let us not boast or trumpet ourselves,” the association said, warning about “unauthorized political statements”.

The medical body’s strong warning comes after the union health minister on Sunday said India was in the “endgame of the novel coronavirus pandemic” followed by the Delhi health minister on Monday claiming that the “pandemic is nearing the endemic phase” in the national capital. (A pandemic is the spread of a disease beyond national borders, across a continent or even around the world while an endemic is the usual persistence of an infectious disease in a given region affecting a large part of the population.)

The medical practitioners maintained that neither the people should stop taking precautions thinking that the pandemic had ended or had converted into endemic confined to certain regions. With several parts of the country witnessing marginal spike during the last few days, a re-surge on a large scale could not be ruled out if people dropped caution.

While Delhi has witnessed a marginal spike in the daily cases over the past few weeks, states like Maharashtra have warned of an “alarming situation” with possible conditional lockdowns in the worst-hit districts.

With India reporting more than 18,000 daily cases for the third consecutive day on Monday, eight big states continuing to report a spike while six of these states, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu cumulatively accounted for 86.25 per cent of the new coronavirus cases reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 11,141, followed by Kerala with 2,100 and Punjab with 1,043 new infections, the ministry said.

The Centre is regularly holding high-level review meetings with the states and Union territories showing a surge in new daily cases and the health secretary is also holding weekly review meetings, it said.

The Centre has recently rushed high-level public health teams to Maharashtra and Punjab to assist in Covid-19 control and containment measures in view of the recent spike in cases.

The central government said it had already deputed multi-disciplined teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir to support them in their fight against the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

“These teams interact with the state/UT authorities and get a firsthand understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by them so as to strengthen their ongoing activities and remove bottlenecks, if any,” the ministry said.

It said eight states and Union territories — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka and Haryana — were displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases.

They have a weekly positivity rate more than the national average of 2.29 per cent. Maharashtra has the highest weekly positivity rate with 11.13 per cent, the government said.

The number of active cases in the country reached 1,88,747 on Monday and it is 1.68 per cent of the total infections.

Meanwhile, 18 states and Union territories have not reported any Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours.

These are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura.

The ministry said nearly 2.10 crore vaccine doses had been administered through 3,76,633 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am on Monday.



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