Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said today that Maharashtra with 42.5%, Chandigarh with 47.8% and Delhi with 75.4% were the worst performers in Covid-19 grant utilisation.
Stating this in his ‘Sunday Samvaad’ programme, the health minister said, “In the first phase, the Government of India had released Rs 3,000 crore to all states and union territories to battle the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Kerala reported the maximum number of new coronavirus cases in the country yesterday, higher than even Maharashtra. It is the first time since March that any state has reported more cases than Maharashtra on any day.
Kerala detected 11,755 new cases on Saturday, its highest ever, while the count in Maharashtra fell to an unusually low number of 11,416. The tally of Maharashtra yesterday was the lowest since September, barring on 4 October when the just about 10,000 new cases were detected due to low testing on the previous day.
Dr Vardhan said further that the rumour about prioritising vaccination of youth over the elderly was false. “Kindly report such claims to PIB Fact Check. Groups with occupational hazard and risk of exposure to infection shall be prioritised followed by those at risk of developing severe disease,” he said. “PIB” stands for the Press Information Bureau, the government mouthpiece.
“Analysis by ICMR Delhi has revealed many cases reported as Covid-19 reinfection have been misclassified because RT-PCR tests can detect dead-virus shed for prolonged periods after recovery. ICMR is further studying the true burden of reinfection,” Dr Vardhan tweeted.
“My dharma is to protect my people, to save lives and not destroy them. No religion or God says that you have to celebrate in an ostentatious way, there is no need to congregate in large numbers to prove your faith,” the minister added.
The minister said that India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken a ‘thought leadership’ role in fighting the pandemic with strict and proactive measures. “We have managed to perform better than many advanced nations and achieved a low mortality rate,” Dr Harsh Vardhan, who is an ear-nose-throat specialist, said.
“The fight against Covid-19 is not over. We need to #Unite2FightCorona and follow all precautions. I request you all to be vigilant, help curb the spread of fake news and ensure only correct and verified information regarding vaccines is passed on,” Dr Harsh Vardhan tweeted.
“Government has not yet taken a view on granting emergency authorization for COVID-19 vaccine. Adequate clinical data from phase two and three trials regarding efficacy and safety is awaited for ensuring patient safety before making any such move,” said the minister.
The union minister said that the loss of every single frontline corona warrior had been personally traumatising for him. “The Modi government has ensured ample supply of PPE kits and HCQ for their protection. Training modules and guidelines on infection prevention and control are being disseminated,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
Keeping the upcoming festival season in mind, Dr Harsh Vardhan today advised people to follow Covid-19 guidelines strictly during the phase. Failing this, he said, the pandemic could once again raise its head and pose increased threats to the society.
The union health minister — who endorsed an ayurvedic preparation for the treatment of Covid-19 during the same address — made the address as the country gears up to celebrate Durga Puja, Navratri and Dussehra in October and Diwali along with Chatth Puja in the month of November.
Notably, the rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases has been decelerating in the country for the past few days.