Forty more deaths due to contagious swine flu were reported in the country taking the toll to 703 as the virus continued to spread its tentacles to new states, including Mizoram, with the number of cases crossing the 11,000 mark.
This prompted Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth to chair a high-level meeting during which he asked the states to ensure setting up of necessary helplines and round-the-clock functioning of outbreak monitoring cells.
Those infected with H1N1 virus are 11071, a new high in recent years, with number of cases showing increase in states Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Telangana.
While officials maintained that there was no dearth of medicines and hospitals were equipped to deal with swine flu, the death number continue to pour-in from states.
Seth, while chairing a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee to review the swine flu outbreak in the country, also directed drug controllers of states to ensure availability of necessary vaccines, along with guidelines for vaccination and treatment protocol.
“The Cabinet Secretary stressed that the states should ensure that the outbreak monitoring cells and necessary helplines function round-the-clock. The drug controllers should ensure availability of necessary medicines such as tablets, capsules and vaccines, along with guidelines for vaccination and treatment protocol,” the Union Health Ministry said in a statement.
After the meeting, Seth said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed that there should be no shortage of medicines and patients should get necessary treatment.
All assistance will be provided to the states to deal with the situation, he said.
Meanwhile, a teams of experts from the Ministry visited states of Telangana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra to extend technical support.
The Ministry has asked states to study patterns in mortality such as which areas, age groups and section of people have been most affected, in addition to deaths due to co-morbid conditions.
According to Delhi government officials, 1789 swine flue cases have been reported so far and six people have died due to this disease in the city, which has granted licence to 40 new drug stores to sell Tamiflu tablets for treatment of swine flu in the national capital.
The city government has ordered all private medical labs not to charge more than Rs 4,500 to carry out tests for the viral disease. The move comes following complaints of several patients that tests are being conducted at exorbitant rates in the city’s private labs. Rajasthan has reported the highest number of 191 deaths, followed by Gujarat with 167, Telangana 46 and Punjab 29.
A Mizo woman was detected with swine flu, the first case in the northeastern state. A senior health official in Aizawl said the woman was in New Delhi for a brief period and it is suspected that she contracted the H1N1 virus in the national capital.
In Nagaland, the health department has placed orders for 1000 tablets of Oseltamivir and 100 bottles of Susp Oseltamivir from the Centre to counter H1N1 flu, following the first case reported in the state yesterday.
In Rajasthan, swine flu has claimed eight more lives in since yesterday. A total of 3,648 patients have tested positive since January 1, an official of Medical and Health Directorate (MHD) said.
The virus has claimed 83 lives in Maharashtra, while 40 of the 205 patients, currently being treated at various hospitals in the state are on ventilator, an official said.
Thirteen more people also tested positive for swine flu in Kashmir, taking the toll of infected to 84. There have been two swine flu deaths in the Valley.