India Fared Better Than Others In Managing Omicron-Driven Covid Surge, Claims Health Ministry

"Not only the reported peak in India was much lower, but the consistent efforts also led to a decreasing trajectory soon.

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Global Covid case surge due to the Omicron variant led to a peak six times the previous waves, but India managed to control its spread causing lower hospitalisation and fewer deaths than earlier surges, the government said on Thursday.

With 3,536 cases reported on an average in the week ending March 15, India contributed to only 0.21 per cent of global cases, the Union health ministry said.

It pointed out that many countries are still experiencing a rise in cases which is higher than their previous surges. "Not only the reported peak in India was much lower, but the consistent efforts also led to a decreasing trajectory soon.

"The country managed the Omicron surge much better than others," a health ministry official said during a presentation at a webinar on India's Public Health Response to Manage COVID-19.

Expedited vaccination drive compounded by effective containment measures and early identification of cases contributed to lower hospitalisation and fewer deaths during the third surge in India, officials said.

They said that by December 31, 2021, when the first signs of the third wave emerged, India had already vaccinated 90.8 per cent of the eligible population with the first dose and 65.4 per cent with the second dose, which proved pivotal in saving lives. 

India has administered more than 180 crore vaccine doses which is 3.2 times that of the USA and 12.7 times of France, officials said, adding crore doses were administered in less than a year. 

According to the ministry, 96.74 crore adult beneficiaries have received at least the first dose in India, which is 2.96 times the population of the USA and 6.71 times the population of Russia. Also, 81.52 crores are fully vaccinated, which is 3.83 times the population of Brazil and 12.13 times the population of the UK, it mentioned.

"With its focus on early identification, seamless admission and effective implementation of clinical management protocols, India has been able to limit the number of deaths," an official said in a meeting with NGOs.

NGOs played a critical role in allaying fear in the community, removing vaccine hesitancy, mobilizing people for vaccinations, testing, facility admission, outreach to the vulnerable population, and most importantly conveying authentic information, he said.

The ministry stressed timely vaccination, wearing of face masks, and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour continues to be the new normal. It also said that continued collaboration with NGOs is crucial in preserving gains of the long-drawn battle against COVID-19.

With PTI inputs.