The World Health Organization’s special Covid-19 envoy David Nabarro said India has reported a relatively small number of coronavirus cases till now because it acted quickly. In an interview with NDTV, the health expert said the pandemic will reach its peak in the country by the end of July before it is contained.
Nabarro said the coronavirus would not simply vanish after restrictions are lifted. “When the lockdown [is lifted], there will be more cases,” he said. “But people should not be scared. In coming months, there will be an increase in [the number of] cases.”
The health expert, who is also a professor of global health at Imperial College London, warned that there will be “sporadic outbreaks” over time immediately after the lockdown ends. “Thereon, the outbreaks will be contained. Around July-end, there will be a flat peak but it will get better.”
India has managed to keep the virus “reasonable well located in specific places” by imposing timely restrictions, Nabarro said. “Because India acted quickly, you have got the situation under control in most settings,” he added. “It is difficult to control it in a dense set-up. You are certainly slowing down the numbers. Your doubling rate is 11 days.”
While the number of cases are high in states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, they are limited to urban areas, he said. “The number of cases in India is large. But compared to the population of India, it is not a very large number,” he added.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Randeep Guleria has also said India should brace itself for a jump in cases, with modelling showing the peak of infections may come in between June and July. However, according to him, the lockdown doesn’t seem to have led to a downward trend in the number of new cases.
“The major problem right now is that we are not seeing a declining trend,” Guleria told Mint. “After 40 days of stringent lockdown, which got further extended, the case count should have come down. Many other countries have recorded a downward trend in their Covid-19 curve.”
India’s cases rose by 3,320 to 59,662 on Saturday morning. The toll is now 1,981.