The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday said that the coronavirus would have spread at a much faster rate in India had the government not implemented the nationwide lockdown and containment measures to control the outbreak.
The ministry claimed, citing a statistical analysis, that India could have had 8.2 lakh cases by April 15 in the absence of any measures at all, and 1.2 lakh if only containment measures were in place but no lockdown. In contrast, the number of cases in India by Saturday evening is 7,529, including 242 deaths, according to data from the ministry.
At the government’s daily press briefing, Joint Health Secretary Lav Agarwal cited the analysis to say that before the implementation of the nationwide lockdown from March 25, the highest-recorded growth rate of cases was 28.9%. “If we had not implemented the lockdown and had been seeing the same growth in cases, we would have 45,000 cases by now [April 11],” Agarwal said. “Had we taken no measures at all, we would have recorded 2 lakh cases by now.”
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“The response of government of India has been preemptive, proactive and to the extent of being over-prepared and through our graded approach, we have aligned our response with the evolving situation,” Agarwal added.
At the press briefing, Agarwal said that 586 hospitals in the country have been dedicated for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. “Over one lakh isolation beds and 11,500 ICU [intensive care unit] beds have been reserved for coronavirus patients,” he said.
Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar from the Indian Council of Medical Research said that 1,71,718 samples have been tested so far for Covid-19. Of the total samples, 16,564 were tested on Friday. He said 146 Covid-19 testing labs are within the ICMR’s network, while 67 are private.