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India reacted to Covid-19 well in time: Harsh Vardhan, Union health minister

“We have to emphasise time and again that social distancing, in the present circumstances remain the potent social vaccine for us right now,” he said during a global webinar organised by the Bennett University on the theme ‘Covid-19, Health and Economy: Fallout and Future”.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Apr 09, 2020, 06.54 PM IST
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Harsh Vardhan
Harsh Vardhan said that that the health ministry started preparing well in advance.
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NEW DELHI: The Union health minister Harsh Vardhan today said that India reacted to the Covid-19 global pandemic well in time and there was no need to panic.

Social distancing is the most “potent vaccine” in the present circumstances to combat fight against Covid-19 and urged everyone needed to follow the lock down in force.

“We have to emphasise time and again that social distancing, in the present circumstances remain the potent social vaccine for us right now,” he said during a global webinar organised by the Bennett University on the theme ‘Covid-19, Health and Economy: Fallout and Future”.

Stressing that India reacted to the news of Covid-19 well on time even before the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised an alarm, he assured that India is well prepared to deal with any eventuality.

The webinar was organised by the Times School of Media of the university.

Minister praised the efforts of Times group in initiating #maskindia campaign.

“Times group has always remained in the forefront in educating and motivating people by disseminating facts about many social and public health issues before the country,” he said addressing the inaugural session of the conference.
“Right now the maskindia campaign launched by you will provide every bit of help in achieving success in Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

Advance preparations
Harsh Vardhan said that that the health ministry started preparing well in advance.

“I feel pride in telling you India is the first country to have reacted and started acting on the news. China had reported that they were seeing some cases of pneumonia and they were not able to pinpoint the cause of the disease,” he said tracing the early days of the conronavirus pandemic.

“We got the information on January 7 that Wuhan had found some virus circulating and that was the cause of pneumonia cases.”

The government held meeting in the health ministry with experts led by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

The ministry started deliberating upon the possible outcome of the virus on India right after the news from Wuhan started to spread, he said.

Harsh Vardhan said farsightedness and expertise in India in dealing with viruses like SARS, NIPAH has resulted in a better response to fight against Covid-19 as compared to other countries.

“Though this is the new virus. We have handled SARS. We didn’t not allow Ebola to enter the entry. I also had dealt with the epidemic of plague and with the help of experts contained its spread. We also did not let Nipah come to or spread to any other part of the country and

It remained in Kerala,” minister said in the nearly half an hour address.

“With the the kind of effective diseases surveillance programme that we have. I am sure we are better equipped to deal with any eventuality,” he said.

Harsh Vardhan said that the robust screening that was done at the airports, air travel restrictions and the contact tracing that is being done at a war footing level in India, there is no need to panic.

However, he said that there was need for everyone to be cautious to social distancing and follow the lockdown in toto.

He said that the situation is monitored at the highest level by the Prime Minister and the cabinet secretary every day. The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by him has had 11 meetings so far.

Harsh Vardhan said a network of laboratories are working round the clock to test. He said that India’s participation in the Solidarity trail initiated by the World Health Organisation will bring the country closer to the vaccine against Covid-19.

(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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