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Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19 (03 May 2021)

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Confirmed cases 152 534 452

Confirmed deaths 3 198 528

Addressing critical gaps urgently in India

WHO is supporting India operationally across COVID-19 response technical areas through procurement to help meet the greatest demands and critical gaps.

WHO is procuring laboratory supplies, including 1.2 million reagents, to meet the massive demand for testing. For the demand on hospital beds and critical equipment, WHO is procuring mobile field hospitals with a capacity of maximum 50 beds to set up in the most affected areas. WHO is also chartering flights to deliver 4 000 oxygen concentrators to help meet increased demand of medical oxygen.

Over 2600 WHO technical staff working in various programmes such as polio tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases have been repurposed to support the COVID-19 response in India with rapid situational analyses and the implementation of tailored responses.

“We need to act with speed, expand hospital capacities and equip them with medical supplies, most needed to save lives,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, continuing with “In addition, health authorities must emphasize on rational use of drugs and oxygen, to ensure lifesaving interventions are made available to only to those who need it.

“The current rapid surge of COVID-19 cases has put immense pressure on the health systems, already overburdened since the start of the pandemic. said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh. The Regional Director also noted the critical need to address fear among communities which may cause hoarding of medical supplies and a rush to hospitals; during this surge of cases it is important to optimize available resources such as ICU beds through triaging patients.

“Irrespective of the numbers that we see today or the virus variants that may be circulating during the ongoing surge, our key public health measures – test, trace, isolate and treat – along with physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and masks continue to be our tried and tested measures to curtail COVID-19 transmission.” Dr Poomam Khetrapal Singh said, concluding with “Together we must do all we can to halt the current COVID-19 surge”.