71% of eligible population given at least 1 dose of Covid vaccine, health infra ready to handle over 5 lakh cases a day: NITI Aayog

71% of eligible population given at least 1 dose of Covid vaccine, health infra ready to handle over 5 lakh cases a day: NITI Aayog

Within six months of the Covid-19 vaccine being available for beneficiaries above 18 years, 71% of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 27 per cent are fully vaccinated. 

NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul while addressing the media on Thursday said that the problem of vaccine shortage has been mitigated in the country and urged people to get fully vaccinated. With over 93 crore vaccine doses administered to date and coverage of second dose picking up, Paul said that it is of utmost importance to ‘fully protect’ ourselves. 

‘Prepared to handle 5 lakh daily cases of Covid-19’

Sharing an update on the preparations for a possible surge, the government stated it has made healthcare preparations to handle a flux of up to 5 lakh coronavirus cases a day.

However, the government simultaneously clarified that it does not imply that such high numbers of Covid-19 infections will be reported in the future. 

Dr Paul further said, “Though the number of cases is now low, preparedness is not low. It is robust, sustained and being accounted for and catalyzed and supported for on a daily basis.”

Details of the preparation

Quoting statistics from states, Dr Paul at the press conference informed that the country has 8.36 lakh hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients and almost one million (9,69,885) additional isolation beds in dedicated COVID-19 care centres as of today. 

Additionally, a total of 4.86 lakh oxygen-supported beds and 1.35 lakh ICU beds are available, he informed.

“About 1,200 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants are functional now and there is no district in the country where such a plant is not working. About 4,000 PSA plants will be established across the country,” Dr Paul said further. 

PM Modi inaugurated 18 PSA oxygen plants in Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an online event on Thursday inaugurated 18 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants in Gujarat.

The newly inaugurated oxygen plants in Gujarat are located in Bharuch, Patan, Palanpur, Tharad, Khedbrahma, Bhiloda, Mansa, Vadnagar, Godhra, Santrampur, Garudeshwar, New Civil Hospital- Surat, SMIMER Hospital-Surat, Sola Civil and Gandhidham.

The newly established PSA oxygen plants at Rajpipla, Zhalod and Morbi by the Gujarat CSR Authority were also inaugurated in the virtual event by the Prime Minister. 

‘Ramped up production by 10 times’

PM Modi who inaugurated a total of 35 new Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants funded by the PM CARES initiative across 35 states and Union Territories on Thursday informed that the production of medical oxygen was ramped up by 10 times. 

PM Modi in an event at AIIMS Rishikesh in Uttarakhand credited the healthcare workers for their dedication and hard work that helped the country overcome the oxygen crisis. 

“India is currently leading the battle against Covid-19 which reflects the hard work, dedication and unity among our people & the government to combat any Vipda,” said PM Modi. He also informed that the country will soon be able to get 4000 oxygen plants from the PM Cares fund. 

“India’s ability to build infrastructure to deal with the Covid outbreak in such a short period of time is a symbol of our determination, service and solidarity,” remarked the Prime Minister further.

Sharing an update on the testing capabilities, PM Modi said, “Our journey from one testing lab to 3000 testing labs at the testing time of the covid-19 pandemic shows our capability to achieve anything.”

India opens up to foreign tourists 

The Centre has decided to commence issuing tourist visas to foreigners from October 15. However, for a month, tourists will be allowed entry into India only on chartered flights while those wanting to visit India on scheduled commercial flights would have to wait till November 15. 

“After considering various inputs, the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) has decided to begin granting of fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from October 15, 2021,” read a statement by the ministry. 

Meanwhile, India reported 22,431 new coronavirus cases and 318 deaths in the last 24 hours with Kerala being the biggest contributor to the numbers. 

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