India’s sharp rise in cases in recent days is linked with the Tablighi Jamaat spread, as well as increased testing. Over 25,000 Tablighi Jamaat members have been quarantined across the country, As on April 6, the Centre said about 4,200 coronavirus cases have been reported, of which 1,445 are related to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation held in mid-March in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area. The congregation, which took place in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak and then many of its member travelling to different parts of the country, contributed significantly in spreading the infection.
India is also ramping up its testing. Testing had already doubled in the last two days from 5,000 samples a day, a health official said. “This is expected to reach 20,000 in the next three days and increase further over the next few weeks as per the plan,” the official said. Further out, the country was planning to scale up to 100,000 tests a day in the “worst-case scenario”, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the government arm regulating the testing, said in a statement.
Neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan are, meanwhile, following the same path as India, but others like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are doing better. The number of cases in Pakistan reached 3,277, including 50 deaths, on April 6, with positive cases in the worst-hit Punjab province approaching 1,500 despite the government’s claims that the lockdown in the country has slowed down spread of the virus. Afghanistan has 367 cases, so far, including 7 deaths.
If India’s current growth rate continues, cases would rise to over 17,000 next week.
STATES LIKE KERALA ARE SLOWING DOWN
Many states saw a surge in cases in the past week. Plotting it on a log scale shows three broad patterns. The trajectory is steepest for states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi, while Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are following a similar, but less steep, trajectory. Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir and Karnataka have seen the slowest increase.
The 10 worst districts, including South Delhi, Mumbai and Kasargod in Kerala, alone account for over 30% of cases in the country.
On March 9, there were over 1 lakh infected cases worldwide. Currently, there are about 13 lakh cases, a 12-fold increase. But — and this is good news — the rate of increase in cases is slowing down. Last week saw the slowest increase, possibly because global lockdown measures are helping.
Italy, among the most severely affected countries, reported 525 deaths on April 5, sharply down from 681 the day earlier. The toll had been surging in Italy since March 19, when 427 people died. The global death toll has crossed 70,000, but data for the past four weeks suggests that the worst phase may be over for the worst-hit countries.
Source: ECDC, popper.ai, Johns Hopkins University, MoHFW