Seems, the COVID-19 outbreak is fast spreading in India.
As the reports say, the total number of COVID detected cases in the country have reached 139 with 3 death cases.
As the panic continued, West Bengal, Puducherry and Haryana reported their first coronavirus positive cases on March 17, 2020.
To ramp up tests across the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said NABL-accredited labs will also start conducting COVID-19 diagnosis soon.
According to ICMR, 50 more labs, besides those in the ICMR network, will be join testing operations by this weekend, says ICMR DG Balram Bhargava.
The Gurgaon administration advised all MNCs, corporate offices and industries in the region to allow their employees to work from home until March 31, 2020.
While most states have already announced closure of institutions, malls, theaters and other key public places until March 31, the UP Government extended the deadline until April 02, 2020 issuing a ‘work from home’ protocol.
Meanwhile, the Indian Railways has cancelled 85 trains as a precautionary measure and due to low occupancy.
Arunachal and Manipur Governments have stopped issuing Inner Line Permits (ILP), a mandatory travel document for domestic visitors.
Indian financial capital Mumbai also has stringent measures in place, where the government has called closure of malls, pubs and other similar public places.
The Maharashtra Government issued orders under the CrPC section 144 directing the private tour operators to stop their operations until March 31, 2020.
CM Uddhav Thackarey also hinted at stopping the movement of public transport services (local trains and buses) if there is no decline in non-essential travel.
According to Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra Health Minister, Maharashtra is currently in the second stage of COVID-19 at the moment.
“But if we don’t curtail or stop the infection from spreading this contagious disease, we could slip to stage three and that would mean a spike in the number of infections We have to contain this disease under any circumstances,” Thope told the reporters.
Legendary actor Dilip Kumar informed that he is under complete isolation and quarantine as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi warns the government of the upcoming economic crisis alongside COVID-19.
“I have been warning the government that a massive (economic) tsunami is coming and they are fooling about, they are not clear about what to do. India should be preparing itself not just for Covid-19 virus but for the economic devastation that is coming,” says Rahul Gandhi.
The government closed borders with Malaysia, Afghanistan and the Philippines with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, 254 of 850 Indian travellers struck in Iran tested positive for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued guidelines and toll-free numbers for notifying #COVID19 positive persons by private institutions.
Central Helpline Numbers for Coronavirus
COVID-19 in India: What Experts Say?
In a statement on March 17, 2020, ICMR revealed its plans to increase India’s COVID-19 testing capacity to 8,000 samples per day from the current 500.
ICMR Director General says there was ‘no evidence’ of coronavirus transmission in the Indian community.
But experts say that won’t be enough to control the COVID-19 outbreak in India and the efforts in rest of Asia region may not work in case of India.
They say measures like widespread testing and social distancing may not work efficiently in cities with high population and poor health infrastructure.
While the number of Indian corona cases is currently in single digits, “the numbers will be 10 times higher by April 15, 2020,” says Dr. T. Jacob John, the former head of ICMR’s Centre for Advanced Research in Virology.
“They are not understanding that this is an avalanche. As every week passes, the avalanche is growing bigger and bigger,” says Joh.
John also heads the Indian Government Expert Advisory Group on Polio Eradication and the National HIV/AIDS Reference Centre at the Vellore Christian Medical College.
Another expert Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, explains about the social distancing option in India to fight COVID-19.
“Social distancing is something often talked about but only works well for the urban middle class….
…It doesn’t work well for the urban poor or the rural population where it’s extremely difficult both in terms of compactly packed houses, but also because many of them have to go to work in areas which are not necessarily suitable for social distancing,” says Reddy, who also heads Public Health Foundation of India, a New Delhi-based health think-tank.
On March 17, 2020, the government announced that the state-authorized private labs will be allowed for conduct tests.
“I have reservations about our capacities to deal with this. Right now, our responses are strategic to the extent that our resources permit,” Reddy adds.
However, the government is yet to release the list of authorized labs, says Lokesh Kumar, ICMR Spokesperson.
More “COVID19” Articles:
- World Nations React to ‘Global Health Emergency’
- Asia on High Alert, India Issues Strict Directives!