STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: There have been “multiple gains” from the lockdown and the most important of them is that it has “decelerated the pace” of spread of COVID-19, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday even as the death toll reached 4,337 and the number of cases rose to 1,51,767 in the country. A total of 6,387 new cases of coronavirus infection and 170 deaths were reported in a 24-hour span till Wednesday 8 AM, according to ministry’s data. The country has been registering new cases in excess of 6,000 daily since the past six days. “Lockdown has garnered multiple gains, and primarily among them is that it has decelerated the pace of spread of the disease,” the ministry said. Estimates made by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed that a large number of deaths and cases have been averted, the ministry said in statement. At the same time, during the lockdown period, development of COVID-19 specific health infrastructure, capacity development of human resource through online training modules and webinars, increased testing capacity, development of diagnostics, drug trials and vaccine research were achieved, it said. On the technical side, the surveillance systems of which contact tracing and house to house surveys are a part were strengthened and tools like Aarogya Setu was developed, the ministry added. “Health infrastructure required for COVID-19 management was ramped up during the lockdown. As on May 27, 930 dedicated COVID hospitals with 1,58,747 isolation beds, 20,355 ICU beds and 69,076 oxygen supported beds are available,” the statement said. Also, 2,362 dedicated COVID-19 health centres with 1,32,593 isolation beds, 10,903 ICU beds and 45,562 oxygen supported beds have been operationalised. Besides, 10,341 quarantine centres and 7,195 COVID care centres with 6,52,830 beds are now available to combat COVID-19 in the country, it said. The Centre has also provided 113.58 lakh N95 masks and 89.84 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the states, union territories and central Institutions, the ministry said, adding the testing capacity has increased in the country through 435 government laboratories and 189 private laboratories (total of 624 labs). India’s COVID-19 fatality rate is 2.86 per cent, as against the world average of 6.36 per cent, the ministry said. Cumulatively, 32,42,160 samples have been tested so far for COVID-19 till 9 AM and a total of 1,16,041 samples have been tested in the last 24 hours, the ICMR said. The first two phases of the lockdown led to 14-29 lakh COVID-19 cases being averted while the number of lives saved in that period was between 37,000 and 78,000, the government had said last week citing various studies, and asserted that the unprecedented shutdown has paid “rich dividends” in the fight against the pandemic.
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