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Govt prepared to handle 5 lakh Covid cases a day, NITI Aayog’s V K Paul says

While listing the details of India's preparations, Paul stressed that preparations don't mean that such a high number of infections will be reported in the future.

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New Delhi: The government on Thursday said it has made healthcare preparations to handle a surge of up to 5 lakh coronavirus cases a day, but stressed that it does not imply that such a high number of infections will be reported in the future.

Listing details of India’s preparations for a possible surge, NITI Aayog member (health) V K Paul said at a press conference that according to reports from states, 8.36 lakh hospital beds are available for COVID-19 patients in the country and almost one million (9,69,885) additional isolation beds are available in dedicated COVID-19 care centres that are complementing home care.

In addition, 4.86 oxygen-supported beds and 1.35 lakh ICU beds are available, he said.

He said that though the number of cases is now low, preparedness is not low. “It is robust, sustained and being accounted for and catalysed and supported for on a daily basis,” he said.

“…this is tremendous work that has been done by the state governments and to an extent also supported by the private sector in participation with the Union government,” Paul said.

He said about 1,200 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants are functional now and there is no district in the country where a such a plant is not working.

About 4,000 PSA plants will be established across the country, he said, adding that “this is our security before any future oxygen crisis”.

Paul further said there is no issue of COVID-19 vaccine availability in the country now and urged people to come forward to take the second dose to be fully vaccinated.

“The dynamics of the virus after vaccination and infection which can lead to herd immunity…we do not have a straight formula for that. As one can see, despite the administration of vaccines, cases are being reported and we are still learning. The preparation will be of the level to make us safe. We move with preparation of 4.5 to 5 lakh cases per day surge but it does not mean that it will happen, should happen or may happen,” he said.

Health Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said the government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure full preparedness to tackle any surge.

“Whenever a sense of complacency comes, there comes a risk of rise in cases. We cannot fit it in an equation as it has multiple parameters. Can we work in the coming three months so that we don’t let the infection spread. Next three months are very crucial in the country’s fight against COVID-19,” he said.

Also read: Current situation can’t be taken for granted, health ministry warns ahead of festive season


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