Empowered Group 1 Chairman Dr VK Paul has remarked that India will be capable of manufacturing 5 lakh COVID-19 diagnostic kits daily in next 6-8 weeks, adding that the manufacturing has already begun. Dr Paul informed that at least seven companies are producing testing kits and as the viral culturing has been done by the ICMR and vaccine development is also going on. The country has so far reported 1,18,447 cases of Coronavirus and 3,583 deaths. The total number includes 66,330 active cases and 48,534 cases that have recovered.
Addressing a joint press briefing on Friday, Dr VK Paul also stated that as many as 56 lakh COVID-19 warriors have been trained while 30 lakh PPE kits have been given to the states. "109 domestic manufacturers with 3 lakh per day domestic PPE manufacturing capacity, have been listed," he added. He also informed that India has more than one lakh per day testing capacity now and that in less than two months the Indian health infrastructure has been ramped up. The Empowered Group 1 was formed by the central government for coordinating medical emergency management plan in view of coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Paul said the lockdown was timely, graded, proactive and pre-emptive public health measure to fight the coronavirus pandemic. "The growth rate of coronavirus cases has witnessed a steady fall from April 3, as the lockdown was able to put a brake on the speed of growth. The number of cases today would have been much higher had lockdown not been implemented. It has been a part and parcel of our overall strategy," Dr. Paul said.
In response to the graph released last month by NITI Aayog that suggested India would have no new COVID-19 cases to report by 16 May, Dr Paul clarified, “I wish for there to be a correction and I apologise for the misconception, but that is not what I had wanted to convey.”
Talking about the effect of lockdown, the Empowered Group 1 chairman said, "The confinement of COVID-19 to certain areas has been due to actions taken during the lockdown. It enabled us to be more prepared for the future." "Like the number of cases, the growth rate of the number of COVID-19 deaths too has fallen significantly due to lockdown, marking a notable difference between pre-lockdown and post-lockdown situations," he said.
(with inputs from ANI)