In the entire world, India is way ahead in its fight against COVID-19, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday. Ever since China reported the World Health Organisation about the outbreak in December, India's Health Ministry geared up and issued detailed advisories to all its states regarding measures to take to deal with the disease, the Health Minister said.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan added that in the first week of January, India began its thermal screening of passengers at all the main international airports, while WHO announced the medical emergency by the end of January. It is the result of taking early precautionary actions, that the country still stands in the second stage of the virus, he said.
Over five lakh people are under community surveillance and are being monitored at all times. Additionally, several thousand people are under home-quarantine, while a thousand others are under institutional quarantine.
Comparing the number of cases with other countries, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that we are well prepared to combat the epidemic. The only requirement is that people need to follow the guidelines issued by the Central Government.
"Please honour the principles of the lockdown. If you follow these guidelines, you will be safe. I still find many people violating the guidelines. People must understand that that the society's contribution in the effort is of utmost importance. It is no rocket science to protect yourselves. Just follow the appeals from the Government," the Health Minister said.
The Union Health Minister further noted that other countries took lockdown actions only after entering the third stage of COVID-19, whereas India announced a lockdown much before, as an effective measure to curb the transmission.
Defying rumours that the Government is testing lesser people for COVID-19, the Health Minister said that the steps are being taken as per the advice by the scientific experts. He said that people are tested only on the basis of valid criteria.
"We have the best quality of scientific experts, we follow their advice. We have modified our testing ability on the basis of valid criteria. People with acute respiratory diseases are also tested for COVID-19. We have established 150 labs, with 16,000 collections centres in the country for testing the disease. We are conducting every procedure in a scientific manner," Dr Harsh Vardhan informed.
"India is conducting 4000-5000 tests every day, even though our testing capacity of 15,000 people per day. We have to go by the advice of the experts. Every country has a different scientific strategy based on their scenario," he added.
The Health Minister said that the country's scientific strategy and steps are being appreciated at the global level. The fact that we over five lakh people are under community surveillance a great achievement. "We have successfully curtailed the spread of several deadly diseases. This is just another test. We will definitely sail through," he affirmed.