India's preemptive, proactive and graded approach ensured a plateaued graph of COVID-19 cases and a significant number of unoccupied beds in the health facilities at any point of time, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday.
Mr Vardhan made the remarks during his conversation with Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, who had called upon him virtually to discuss co-operation in the field of health and medicine, according to a statement issued by the Union Health ministry.
Elaborating on the lessons India learned while handling the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Vardhan,said, "India has a recovery rate of more than 61 per cent and a mortality of as low as 2.78 per cent in spite of being a country of 1.35 billion."
Also 2.5 lakh people are being tested every day. From a single lab four months back, the country now has more than 1100 labs to diagnose COVID-19, he said.
"India's pro-active, pre-emptive and graded approach ensured a plateaued graph and significant number of unoccupied beds at any point of time in the three-tiered COVID health infrastructure assembled by the government," the statement quoting Mr Vardhan said.
The minister said India has used the novel coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity because of the "whole of government" approach adopted at various levels.
From January 8, one day after China alerted the world about the pathogen, the government has coordinated among its different branches for point of entry surveillance at the sea, land ports and airports, Mr Vardhan said.
It strengthened its community surveillance, issued detailed health and travel advisories, and also evacuated thousands of citizens and foreign nationals.
"India now has over 100 PPE manufacturing units manufacturing 5 lakh PPE per day and has also similarly ramped up its production of N95 masks and ventilators.
"India has supplied Hydrochloroxyquine to more than 100 countries," Mr Vardhan told his Swedish counterpart during the interaction.
The two health ministers discussed in detail the status and containment measures for COVID-19 in the two countries, and the future vision for handling it, according to the statement.
Hallengren congratulated Mr Vardhan on being elected Chair of WHO Executive Board and praised India for increasing the testing capacity so that more and more people can be diagnosed and treated early, the ministry said.
Mr Vardhan spoke about the decade of vibrant Indo-Swedish partnership which oversaw ten bilateral meetings at the Joint Working Group level. He also mentioned the path-breaking achievements of the government of India in the recent years:
"The Ayushman Bharat Yojana covers a massive 550 million people, maternal and infant mortality have been reduced, India has made giant strides in its target to eliminate TB by the year 2025, while India's Digital Health Program promises to integrate IT into the healthcare system," he said.
He further said India has undertaken pioneering research in antibiotic resistance.
"Both the ministers agreed to hold next meeting of Joint Working Group by the fall season and digitally connect with each other till the crisis is over. They directed senior officials in their respective ministries to follow up on the matters discussed in the meeting," the statement said.
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