Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday that India will remember the coronavirus pandemic as a “blessing in disguise” if people imbibe good hygiene practices.
“By now we know that fighting coronavirus is no rocket science. If behavioural changes such as hand, environmental and respiratory hygiene, which are being practised more rigorously during this period, get imbibed in society it will become the new normal,” Vardhan said.
“Other than smallpox and polio, no other viral infection has been completely eradicated from this country. Other diseases keep recurring,” the minister said, indicating that Covid-19 might be here for the long haul.
The total number of cases came very close to the 50,000-mark on Wednesday. The Union Health Ministry data on Wednesday morning showed the country recorded 2,958 new cases and 126 deaths in the last 24 hours (between Tuesday and Wednesday).
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of a taskforce on the coronavirus vaccine development, drug discovery, diagnosis and testing and reviewed India’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19, news agency PTI reported.
There are concerns that India’s tally may increase further with the government announcing plans to bring back a large number of Indians from various countries, in what is being called the world’s biggest ever evacuation programme. PTI reported that over three lakh people have registered for the evacuation from the Gulf region itself.
The absolute number of cases and the death toll in India is lower than many others – more than 2.5 lakh people having lost their lives and over 35 lakh having been infected worldwide ever since the emergence of this virus in China in December 2019.
The focus now seems to have shifted globally towards developing a vaccine, with several world leaders committing more than US $8 billion since Monday for this purpose.
The government officials, meanwhile, maintained that India has managed to stave off a community transmission risk and the country remains in a “comfortable” position in terms of managing the Covid-19 crisis.
The recovery rate in India has improved to 28.17%, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry said during a press briefing on the Covid-19 situation on Tuesday.