New Delhi: The COVID-19 virus got mutated 223 times in the world and its harmful effects have come done substantially over time, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in Lok Sabha on Friday.
He also said that COVID-19 will continue to remain like influenza and its present variants are not deadly.
"When a virus gets mutated more than 100 times, its harmful effects get reduced. Covid also got mutated. So far, the Covid virus got mutated 223 times," he said during the Question Hour.
He said that like influenza, which hits people once or twice every year, "Covid is with us and it will remain".
"Covid sub-variants are not that deadly and there are no negative effects," he said.
Mandaviya said health is such an issue where all stake holders and countries should come together and work. "We have seen the positive results during the pandemic when we all worked together," he said.
The minister said India has a robust medicine production infrastructure and the world has recognised this. "We are now the producer of 70 per cent of HIV/AIDS medicines of the world. Similarly, we produce many medicines which the world considers as good," he said.
Speaker Om Birla also commented that when he was travelling in Africa, he had witnessed the demands of Indian medicines and people's admiration for it due to its effects.
Mandaviya said that due to the Ayushman Bharat scheme, under which free medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh is provided to the poor, 13 crore people got benefited as they have gone above the poverty level since they did not have to spend money for treatment.
Similar, during the tenure of the previous government, 5.5 crore people came under the poverty line as they had to spend a large amount of money for medical care, he said.
The minister said the Modi government is now spending 1.35 per cent of the GDP in comparison to 1.13 per cent spent by the earlier government.