Aim is to ultimately bring coronavirus positivity rate to 5%: Health ministry

Aim is to ultimately bring coronavirus positivity rate to 5%: Health ministry

The Union Health Ministry today said the ultimate aim for the government is to bring down the positivity rate of Covid-19 cases to 5 percent. The positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for disease out of the total number of tests carried out.

Addressing a press briefing on Covid-19, the health ministry said the government's aim is to first bring down the positivity rate to 10 percent in areas that have high caseload and then ultimately to 5 percent.

The health ministry said at present India's overall positivity rate is 8.07 percent and that there are 30 states/UTs where the positivity rate is less than the national average. This includes states like Rajasthan (2.46 percent), Madhya Pradesh (3.90 percent), and West Bengal (6.94 percent).

However, the ministry did not mention the positivity rate in the worst-affected states of Maharashtra, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu.

Even though the total number of Covid-19 cases in India has crossed 11.55 lakh, the health ministry maintained that India is doing better than many large nations.

The government said even today, India's cases per million tally is 837. "This is quite low in comparison to many big countries in the world. There are some large countries where this figure is 12 to 13 times that of India," the health ministry said.

Elaborating on these numbers, the health ministry claimed that India has been faring better than other countries even in terms of deaths per million. To buttress this point, the ministry said the deaths per million figure for India is 20.8, while the world average is 77. "In the UK, the figure is 667, in the US 421, in Brazil 371 and in Mexico 302. The US figure is 21 times than that of India's and in the UK it is 33 times," the health ministry said during a presentation on Covid-19.

Speaking about the tests conducted in India, the health ministry said the country has been testing more people than the benchmark set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The ministry said the WHO guidelines recommend that countries should conduct 140 tests per million population per day and that this must be carried out for a prolonged period. It said India against the recommendation of 140 tests per million per day, India is currently conducting 180.

During the media briefing, the health ministry also said that people should focus on the number of active cases instead of talking about the total number of Covid-19 cases. It said the active cases are the ones that reflect the actual load of Covid-19 on the country's healthcare system.

"The actual load of Covid-19 in India as of today is 4,02,529 cases. When we talk of Covid-19 figures, we shouldn't get embroiled in historical figures. We should rather focus our attention on the number of active cases. These are the cases that test the capability of our health system or are the ones that are in home quarantines. The percentage of active cases has decreased from 90 percent on March 24, to around 40 percent as on date," the ministry said.

However, while the number of active cases shows the current caseload in the country, it is important to take note of the total number of cases in the country because that shows that extent to which healthcare workers and health infrastructure has been stretched too and the burden it has borne over the past four-five months.