New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday reiterates that the country has so far been able to beat off the community transmission of the coronavirus pandemic, and expressed hope that the ‘behavioural changes’ brought by the infection could become the new normal for a healthy society after the pandemic lessen.
“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.
He also said that people can look back at the pandemic period as a ‘blessing in disguise’ if Indians imbibe hand, respiratory and environmental hygiene and practise it in their everyday lives.
“Once the havoc caused by the virus subsides and the crisis blows over, people may remember it as a blessing in disguise,” Vardhan said, adding that India has so far been able to keep itself from slipping into the stage of community transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Such practices will bring down the instances of communicable diseases and society will evolve for the better, he stressed. Other than small pox 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. “But every cloud has a silver lining,” he said.
Underlining the importance of the lockdown, which has been extended till May 17, the minister said health should be on the radar just as much as the economy. “The government has to do a balancing act,” he said.
On Tuesday, the number of COVID-19 cases shot up to 46,433 from the 42,836 the day before, a sharp rise of 3,597 cases, according to Union Health Ministry data. The death toll has risen to 1,568 from 1,389.
The minister also discussed the chaos outside liquor vends across the country on Monday as several states relaxed the lockdown in accordance with guidelines from the Union Home Ministry and people in several places jostled and shoved to stock up on their alcohol without any thought to social distancing norms.
“We have to weigh every decision objectively and predict their consequences before implementing them to ensure there is no spike in cases.”
He said the doubling rate of cases in the country has been showing regular improvement and stands at over 12 days now as against three days before March 25, when the nationwide lockdown began.
The recovery rate has also progressively improved, he said. Around 27.40 per cent of patients have recovered so far in the country.