VIJAYAWADA: The country's recovery from coronavirus due to the early steps taken by it was the first sign that Atmanirbhar Bharat was working, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar here on Saturday.
"When coronavirus hit us, this country -- like many other countries of the world-- was completely unprepared. We had hospitals, clinics, but nobody had thought of treatment for Coronavirus, nobody had dedicated centres for it. Very few people made masks, nobody had PPE kits," Jaishankar said at a conference here.
He said that after a few months since then, today, India is one of the world's biggest producers of PPE and the biggest producers of masks. "We have 25 companies that are making ventilators. We're making for ourselves. We're making for the world. We set up 16,000 centres to deal with the Coronavirus (pandemic)," the External Affairs Minister said.
He said that Jaishankar hailed the Centre's decision to impose an "early lockdown." It was a health response for something which was unprecedented. "The result is, we have one of the lowest case-fatality rates in the world, we have one of the highest recovery rates in the world," he said adding that India's recovery from the pandemic was the "first sign" of Atmanirbhar Bharat working.
"I cite to you the (country's) Coronavirus recovery, as the first sign of Atmanirbhar Bharat working. I believe that if we can do what we've done against a terrible disease if we put our minds on how to build this country, how to take it to a higher level, we're capable of doing it. Today we have the leadership. Today we have the vision. We have that plan in the Budget and I think we have the self-belief and self-confidence that we are capable of it," Jaishankar said.
India on Saturday registered a record by crossing the landmark 20-crore total cumulative COVID-19 tests. Out of 20 crore total tests the country has conducted 7,40,794 tests in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.
The country's total active caseload continued to follow a consistent downward slope. It has dropped to less than 1.5 lakh (1,48,590) today and is the lowest in eight months. The present active caseload now consists of just 1.37 per cent of India's total positive cases. The country has seen less than 100 fatalities (95) in the past 24 hours.
The total number of vaccinated beneficiaries surpassed 54 lakh (54,16,849) under the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination exercise, as per today's record till 8 am. The number of beneficiaries being vaccinated every day has shown a consistent and progressive increase.