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How India has handled Covid-19 so far: This is what the govt’s own report card says

The Centre Thursday released its one-month report card of the lockdown, showing how India has managed to control the spread of the coronavirus so far.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 23, 2020 8:48:58 pm
The COVID-19 testing has increased 24 times while number of new positive cases grew only 16 times, the government said.  (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar)

After the nationwide lockdown was imposed, Covid-19 testing has increased 24 times while the number of new positive cases grew by 16 times, the central government has said. The statement was made in its one-month report card of the steps taken to contain the coronavirus spread during the lockdown.

C K Mishra, Chairman of the Empowered Group-2, said the novel coronavirus growth has been linear in India, not exponential, and that the government has been able to cut Covid-19 transmission and minimise its spread in the 30 days of the nationwide lockdown.

In a press briefing, the government said that despite a 24-fold increase in testing, the percentage of positive cases was not rising. The government’s report card, thus, shows how India managed to control the spread of the virus so far.

Here are some of the points made in the report:

Post Lockdown: Testing increased 24 times, positive cases grew 16 times

Testing for Covid-19 has increased 24 times while the number of new positive cases grew 16 times, the government said. It also said the increase in positive cases in India has been more or less linear, not exponential.

The government said that despite a 24-fold increase in testing, the percentage of positive cases was not rising. By April 22, the average positive confirmation rate in India was 4.5 per cent. The highest positive confirmation rate in the country was recorded on April 1 when it reached 7.9 per cent, while the lowest was recorded on March 28 with 2.2 per cent.

Confirmation rate of countries in a month after 400th case

The government also gave a comparative analysis between India and other nations of the month they crossed 400 coronavirus cases. As per their data, the government claims it has done better than the majority of developed countries, with respect to the percentage of test cases yielding positive results. India, which crossed its 400th Covid-19 positive case on March 23, has recorded only 20,000 overall cases within one month. The UK recorded over 1,20,000 cases in the same period followed by Italy at 1,00,000 cases.

“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,” Mishra said.

“As the challenge kept expanding, strategy too kept expanding,” he added.

Mishra said that the government has expanded its testing base, mobilised all possible resources — both public and private — and has decentralised activities for effective management.

Mapping of patients to Covid-19 facilities

The government also informed about a three-pronged system that will be put in place for the treatment of coronavirus patients based on the severity of cases. For the critically ill patients, the government has created designated Covid-19 Hospitals (DCH), including private hospitals, which have facilities such as ICUs, ventilators and oxygen support.

For people having moderate clinical symptoms, the government has created Dedicated Covid-19 Health Centre (DCHC), which are mapped to one or more DCH and include facilities such as oxygen supported-beds and basic life support ambulance equipped with oxygen support.

For mild cases, there are Covid Care Centres, which can be set up in hostels, hotels, schools, etc, with assured oxygen support. They are also mapped to one or more DCHC and at least one DCH for referral purpose.

“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 are cured at COVID Health Centre stage itself,” Mishra said.

The government said the number of dedicated hospitals for Covid-19 patients has increased 3.5 times since the last month, with the number of isolation beds increasing by 3.6 times in the same period.

“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 said, presenting the status of Covid-19 hospital infrastructure as on Thursday, which he said is increasing day-by-day.

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