New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday held “irresponsible behaviour” of people responsible for the surge of Covid-19 cases in the country, and appealed to Lok Sabha MPs to spread awareness regarding the pandemic.
In his reply on a special discussion on Covid-19 in the lower house of Parliament, he said the pandemic is spreading rapidly because of such behaviour.
“It seems people have misunderstood the unlock processes and have become relaxed, thinking everything is fine. They must remember that Covid appropriate conduct is important,” he said.
“Hands must be kept away from the face. Masks are a must and so is physical distance.”
The Minister appealed to MPs to help launch a campaign for public awareness regarding Covid-19-related appropriate behaviour and enforce it in their respective constituencies.
“If we can end laxity in our behaviour, the fight against Covid can be won quickly. We have to break the chain of Covid transmission,” he said in his reply to the nearly five-hour debate.
The Minster clarified that the disease does not spread through air and maintained that its cycle is through human transmission, and thus, human behaviour needs to be controlled till the Covid vaccine comes into the market.
Citing five independent studies, Harsh Vardhan said that the national lockdown was helpful in combating Covid-19 which so far has infected 54,00,620 people across the country.
“Lockdown prevented cases and deaths at a time when the situation was critical.”
He also said that 145 Covid vaccine candidates worldwide were in pre-clinical evaluation and 35 in the clinical stage.
“In India, 30 vaccines have been supported and of these, three are in advanced human trial stages and more than four are in pre-clinical stages. India has planned ahead for vaccine distribution as and when it is available.”
India was now conducting 12 lakh tests a day and has developed the capacity to produce 10 lakh test kits daily, he said.
“We have evaluated 870 kits, recommended 420 and 308 are in use,” the Minister said.
Earlier in the day, Harsh Vardhan played down fears the Covid outbreak in India has reached the community transmission stage, noting that “only 10 states are reporting maximum cases” and that the bulk of these are in “few districts”.
During an hour-long social media interaction on Sunday, he also dismissed that the pandemic was peaking in India, stating that different parts of the country were “at multiple trajectories”.