The statement by the Union Health Minister on March 7 last year that India is in the end-game of the COVID-19 pandemic was in the context of the decrease in cases noted across the country during the period, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday while replying to a query.
It, in turn, was expected to boost the morale of the healthcare and frontline workers and to highlight to the community at large that there has to be a continued focus on COVID-appropriate behaviour and use of vaccines, Ms Pawar said in her written reply.
Ms Pawar was responding to a question on the evidence on the basis of which the then health minister Harsh Vardhan had made the statement.
Mr Vardhan was recently replaced by Mansukh Mandaviya in a Cabinet reshuffle.
In her reply, Ms Pawar said after recording the first peak COVID-19 trajectory in India with 97,894 cases on 17th September, India was recording a sustained and considerable decline in the number of daily new cases. India's active caseload was as low as 1.48 percent of India's total positive cases.
The COVID-19 outbreak was contracting since only two states -- Kerala and Maharashtra -- were accounting for more than 70 percent of total active cases in the country.
This was further corroborated by the fact that more than 400 districts were reporting less than 10 cases with a test positivity of less than 1 percent which shows that the transmission was limited, the minister said.
This decline was also evident in terms of test positivity rate which had fallen to less than 5 percent in more than 25 states which indicated that the spread of infection was on the decline.
"Health Minister's statement was thus in the context of the decrease in cases being noted across the country during the period. The statement was highlighting the status of cases and the spread of infection during the period. This need not be endorsed or recommended by the National Task Force to begin with.
"It, in turn, was expected to boost the morale of the healthcare and frontline workers and to highlight to the community at large that there has to be a continued focus on COVID-appropriate behaviour and use of vaccine," Ms Pawar said.
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