Covid-19 on verge of entering endemic stage but we will be on alert against any deadly strain, says Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya | India News

NEW DELHI: Covid-19 is on the verge of entering the endemic stage and will be around just like the influenza virus which has survived but does not harm people much, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.
“The Covid situation in the country is stable but high alert against the virus will continue to track any new variant,” the Union home minister said and added, “necessary measures will be in place to guard against any virulent strain or deadly variants.”
“Covid is on the verge of entering the endemic stage (endemic ki kagaar pe hai) but our team of scientists at ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) is keeping a close watch on each variant of Covid.Till now, more than 224 variants of Covid have been noticed in the country, continuous genome sequencing is being done for each variant,” he said.”Just like (the) influenza virus has survived somehow and whenever a new variant comes, people experience cough, fever etc., but does not harm the people much, something similar will happen with Covid and largely that has happened now,” the minister said.
According to experts, a disease is called endemic when its presence becomes constant, based on established patterns, in a population within a particular geographical area, as is the case with seasonal influenza.
The deadly virus was first detected in China in late 2019 while the first case in India was reported in late January 2020. Since then, close to 4.5 crore positive cases have been reported in India and more than five lakh have died during multiple waves.
However, the caseload has declined significantly in recent months and the number of active cases now stands at just about 1,800 with close to 99 per cent overall recovery rate and about 1 per cent fatality rate.
India witnessed multiple waves of Covid-19. The second wave in April-May 2021 was the most devastating when thousands of people lost their lives. There was a sharp increase in cases which put immense strain on the healthcare infrastructure.
There were shortages of hospital beds, medical oxygen, and essential medications.
The pandemic also had a severe economic impact on the country’s economy. Lockdowns and restrictions imposed to control Covid-19 disrupted various sectors, resulting in job losses, reduced income.
The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the education system as schools and colleges remained closed for extended periods.
The government embarked on an extensive vaccination drive. The healthcare workers and the elderly were given priority. More than 220 crore doses of Covid vaccines have been administered in India with about 90 per cent of India’s eligible population fully vaccinated.
Globally, more than 76 crore confirmed Covid-19 cases and nearly 69 lakh deaths have been reported so far while 1,340 crore vaccine doses have been administered. The cases saw their biggest spike in December 2022, nearly a year after the earlier peak of January 2022. However, in terms of deaths, the worst period was January 2021 and the situation remained worrisome for almost a year.
(With inputs from agencies)

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