Covid spurt could be cyclic, specific to specific months: Health Ministry


The rise in Covid cases in the National Capital may be cyclic, with the increase in number being restricted to specific months, say sources at the Union Health Ministry. Hospitalisations remain low, and deaths that are being reported are among the geriatric population and/or those with co-morbidities.

According to sources, Covid has not yet been declared endemic by the WHO. But there will be some mutation of the virus, as is normally the case, which would lead to possible breakthrough infections. However, a surge in cases, or sudden rise in hospitalisation, is unlikely.

“World over, many countries saw a third wave of infections. But India continues to have one of the lowest deaths per million population globally. We managed vaccine coverage for 80 per cent of the population, which helped mitigate chances of future waves,” said the source.

Sources say that a common Ayushman Bharat card, which is co-branded with the PM-Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) and the respective State government’s health scheme, is being rolled out. The co-branded cards would give equal space to PM-JAY and State-specific logos. The card will be bilingual – in English and in the local language.

So far, 31 out of 33 States have adopted for the co-branded Ayushman Bharat cards. Final concurrence is awaited from Tamil Nadu and Telengana and 29 other States have been “adopting the guidelines”, said the source. Three States — Odisha, West Bengal and Delhi – are yet to come on board. In September 2021, the National Health Authority released the guidelines for States and UTs on Ayushman card designs.

Earlier, under the PM-JAY, it was observed that there was a wide variance in the design and nomenclature of beneficiary cards across States. This created confusion among beneficiaries and stakeholders such as empanelled hospitals, implementation support agencies, insurance companies and third-party administrators. “This impeded the formation of a unified identity for Ayush Bharat PM-JAY,” the source explained.

Cards issued

As of August 17, 18.81 crore individuals have been verified under the scheme, and 14.12 crore Ayushman cards have been issued. Over 3.75 crore hospital admissions and ₹45,000 crore have been authorised under the scheme through a network of 25,000 empanelled healthcare providers.

Published on

August 24, 2022

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