Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 24
Lockdown has helped slow the spread of coronavirus infections in the country, Union Health Ministry said on Friday.
The ministry said in its evening briefing that the doubling rate in the country has slowed to 10 days.
“The decision to impose lockdown was timely and was effective in controlling coronavirus spread,” the ministry said.
The ministry said that the country had reported 1,684 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 23,077 with 718 reported deaths.
Some 20.5 per cent people—4,748 patients— have been cured so far, ministry officials said.
“There has been no new case of COVID-19 from 80 districts in the last 14 days,” officials said at the press briefing. Officials said that the authorities were now conducting community surveillance at district and state levels to check community spread of the virus.
Doubling rate is the rate at which infection doubles in the country.
The COVID-19 situation continued to be grim in Maharashtra with 14 deaths and 778 new cases as on Thursday night, leaving other seriously hit states or union territories like Delhi, Telangana or Tamil Nadu far behind. With this, the state’s total fatalities shot up from 269 on Wednesday to 283 on Friday morning. The number of COVID-19 patients jumped to 6,430 on Friday.
The national capital has seen 2,376 cases of COVID-19 with 50 fatalities.
Rajasthan has witnessed 1,964 cases and 27 deaths while Tamil Nadu has seen 1,683 cases and 20 deaths so far. Gujarat too had seen a rise in numbers taking the total cases to 2,624. There has been 112 deaths in the state. Agencies
‘Lockdown helped prevent community transmission’
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said earlier in the day that the government had saved India from going into Stage 3 or community transmission stage, and India had also fared better than many countries, in the fight against the coronavirus, on various parameters.
“Testing has been made strong in the country. Today, we have already completed 5.5 lakh tests and after increasing our testing frequency our positive cases are not rising.
“The positive cases are not rising by more than 4 per cent…We were all worried if we are in Stage 3, but we have been able to save the country largely from going into Stage 3,” Harsh Vardhan said, adding “we have all the information connected with clusters and hotspots.” Responding to the issue of faulty testing kits, Vardhan said: “We will return the testing kits to their country of origin, and we have not paid money yet. Strategies were made to use these kits in hotspots.
“Faulty antibody testing kits will be returned irrespective of the country they were procured from, including China,” added Vardhan.
Detailing the country’s progress in the past 3.5 months in tackling COVID-19, Vardhan added: “On January 8, we held our first meeting, and today, in comparison with many other countries, fighting against COVID-19, India has done very well.
“We have fewer cases per million percentage. We have a mortality of 3 per cent, which is less. The recovery rate of patients, who contracted a viral infection, is better than the world. In March, the doubling rate of coronavirus cases was 3 days; today it is close to 9 days.
“All over the country, wherever the virus is active, we have full information. And, we also know, what we have to do to tackle this virus in these areas,” added Vardhan.
He insisted that the country has a very well-defined strategy to deal with hotspots and also those districts which so far remain coronavirus free.
“We are in a better position to control the disease. Containment and surveillance strategies have been designed meticulously,” said Vardhan.
He added that lockdown has proved helpful in tackling the outbreak of the viral infection.
NITI Ayog Member VK Paul said India would have crossed the one lakh case mark had Prime Minister Narendra Modi not taken the timely and bold decision to implement a national lockdown to prevent COVID 19 transmission, Member Health
Chairman of the Government empowered committee on medical leaders’ emergency response, Paul said the disease was under control and that, without a lockdown, there would have been exponential growth of cases.
Paul also said all medical evidence in the field has suggested that India’s testing strategy has stood the test of time and would be reviewed depending on the shape the disease takes.
Even with expanded testing our cases did not rise, he said.
“What we are presenting is the true picture. Hospital ICUs are not filling with people; PMJAY scheme use hasn’t surged nor has the sale of cough and flu medicines. All this shows the disease is under control,” said Paul. With agencies