Have cut coronavirus transmission, minimised spread, increased COVID-19 doubling time during lockdown: Govt

Ghughuti Bulletin


The government on Thursday said that it has been able to cut coronavirus transmission, minimise its spread and increase the doubling time of COVID-19 cases in the country during the nationwide lockdown. Addressing a press conference, the chairman of Empowered Group Two, C K Mishra, asserted that the growth of coronavirus cases in the country has been more or less linear and not exponential, adding that the testing has been ramped up consistently.

He said that it indicates the strategies that the government has adopted have succeeded in containing the infection to a particular level. “During the 30 days of lockdown, we have been able to cut transmission, minimize spread and increase the doubling days of COVID-19. We have been able to consistently ramp up our testing and utilise our time preparing for the future in case the virus spreads further,” he said.

“We expanded our testing base, mobilizing all possible resources – both public and private, and have decentralized the activities to manage it effectively. The lockdown period has been used gainfully to review, assess and expand our hospital infrastructure and preparedness; our effort has been to use resources and be over-prepared,” he added.

One crucial weapon we employed during the lockdown period is RT-PCR test to ascertain if one has contracted the disease or not. As on March 23, we had done 14,915 tests were done across the country and by April 22 more than 5 lakh tests were conducted, which is about “33 times in 30 days”, he said, adding, “but we are conscious of the fact that this is not enough and we have to continuously ramp up testing in the country and we will do that.”

Of the empowered groups formed to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce the misery of people once the lockdown is lifted, Mishra is the chairman of Empowered Group Two tasked with coordinating the availability of hospitals, isolation and quarantine facilities, disease surveillance, testing and critical care training.

Mishra also said that in the last month, the number of dedicated hospitals for treating coronavirus patients has been increased 3.5 times and the number of isolation beds rose by 3.6 times. “Despite a 24-fold increase in testing, the percentage of positive cases is not rising. The percentage of positive cases as a ratio of testing is more or less the same as that a month ago,” he said.

He also claimed that India has done better than a majority of developed countries with respect to the percentage of test cases yielding positive results. “We need to evolve our strategy based on the current position… We seem to be doing well so far with our strategy which is intensely focused on areas where we see a lot of positivity and action happening. Our testing strategy has been focused, targeted and continues to expand,” he said.

“The facts show that our testing strategy has been focused, targeted and continues to expand, this is an evolving strategy based on our learnings as we go along. As the challenge kept expanding, strategy too kept expanding. We expanded our testing base, mobilizing all possible resources – both public and private, and have decentralized the activities to manage it effectively,” he added.

“Our first goal as regards hospitalization has been to ensure that the minimum number of people need to come to the hospital, using social distancing, discipline and taking care of the vulnerable such as the elderly and those with co-morbidities. The second goal is to ensure enough infrastructure so that every person who needs to come to the hospital is treated well, cured and sent back. Every district in the country is now working towards that,” he further added.

“As per patient profile, the critical thing is oxygen, our entire hospital preparation is focused on ensuring oxygen support to those who need it. Our goal is to ensure that most people get cured at COVID-19 Health Centre stage itself. We want to create a structure so that we test most people,  treat them as per need and ensure we are able to cure them and save lives,” Mishra further said.

Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said no new COVID-19 cases of the pandemic has been reported from 78 districts in the last 14 days. He also said, “4,257 COVID-19 patients, which is 19.89 per cent of those infected have been cured so far. In the last 24 hours, 1,409 cases were reported, taking the total number of positive cases to 21,393.”

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