We all know that every country is fighting coronavirus to the best of its capability. However, their strategies, their initiatives and their planning vary according to the impact they have and the resources they can spend. In this article, we will see how effectively India is fighting against corona pandemic.
But before we begin, one good news for all: China is being recovered and after two months of struggle, people in China feel free of this pandemic. Reports say that the rate at which the disease was spreading has reduced significantly in China.
Number of COVID 19 Cases Detected:
1st day: India’s first positive coronavirus case was reported on 30th January 2020 and Italy and the United Kingdom both reported their first cases on 31st January, just one day after India. Whereas, China first reported about this unknown virus on 31st December 2019 about 30 days earlier. The USA got first case on 20th January, about 11 days earlier than India.
On 19th March: As of today, Italy and UK after 47 days of the first case, identified about 31,500+ and 2,600+ cases respectively. Which are very high compared to India, that is 160+. The USA as of today has detected more than 7300 cases, that is 58 days after it detected the first C-19 case.
If we look and compare these numbers, the outbreak in India is relatively very low to these countries. Hence, no need to panic by watching international news.
However, these low cases can be the result of less tests conducted by India. India currently tests only 90 samples a day. Whereas, the UK is currently carrying as much as 4000 tests a day. This difference indeed is very huge and certainly raises concerns about undetected spread in the country. However, officials have said that in India we have not yet detected communal spread and hence this smaller number of tests is enough.
The USA on the other hand too is finding difficulties in conducting tests. Initially, the USA also has reported misconducts in the tests resulting in unreliable data and delay in further tests.
Positive case vs tests conducted:
Although the tests being carried out in India are less, the numbers show that we are detecting very fewer positive patients comparatively. By 18th March about 11,500 people were tested in India, among which around 160 were positive. This means 1 in every 75 people is affected. In Italy, about 148,000 tests were conducted among which around 31500 were positive (as of 17th March). This means 1 among every 5 patients has been positive. Similarly, in the UK and the USA both, 1 among every 25 tests has been detected with COVID-19.
These numbers show that the speed of spread is relatively less in India.
The lesser detections in India is because India still have not been through community transmissions as other countries have been. To prevent this transmission, India has been taking all the efforts it can.
As quoted in the New York Times–
“India was also one of the first nations to essentially shut its borders, canceling visas and denying entry to all but a select few foreigners. Some states, such as Kerala, are beginning to beef up internal borders, taking the temperature of passengers in cars and screening people on trains.”
Furthermore, to minimize the effect of the pandemic, both central and state governments are taking full measures of restricting community transmissions. The newly formed union territory of Jammu & Kashmir has banned the entry of all foreign tourists as a precautionary measure. In Odisha, at least four districts have imposed Section 144 restricting gatherings to less than five people to minimize the spread of the Covid-19.
Indian Army, too, has postponed all its courses in the wake of the outbreak. The National Defense College, where senior military officers study, has been temporarily closed.
Why can’t we compare scenarios in Italy with India?
Quarantining most of the cities in India is persuading people to panic. And their reasons can be justified. One of the major fear that stays among Indian is that if Italy is being hard then maybe we will go through the same phases. Well, one of the major reasons why Italy has been hit so hard is because it has the second-oldest population on Earth (23 percent of the population is over age 65). Elderly people being more vulnerable to the disease, Italy has received such a hard blow. India’s high young population is certainly being an advantage in this situation.
Reasons behind less tests being conducted
India is strictly controlling travelling and public gatherings before we get hit by community transmissions. Although, it is very unlikely that the community transmission will be severe in our country, India is totally prepared for the worst-case scenarios. As aforementioned, India is conducting only about 90 tests a day, however it has the capacity for conducting as many as 8,000 tests per day. Furthermore, India already has plans for increasing the test labs:
“By the end of this week, there will be 72 functional ICMR labs for Covid-19 testing and also 49 others in the government system. We are also in talks with 51 private laboratories, accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories, to start testing. On behalf of ICMR, we appeal to them to give the tests free of cost in national interest,” Balram Bhargava, secretary at the department of health research said while addressing the media.