14-29 lakh COVID-19 cases, 37-78k deaths prevented by lockdown: Govt
New Delhi: The government prevented 14-29 lakh coronavirus cases and 37,000-78,000 deaths due to the disease by imposing the nationwide lockdown that was announced on March 24, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has observed, with regard to the lockdown measures taken by the government, that India’s response to COVID-19 has been pre-emptive, pro-active and graded with high–level political commitment and a “whole government” approach to respond to the pandemic.
Rai said by imposing the countrywide lockdown, India successfully blunted the aggressive spread of COVID-19.
“It has been estimated that the decision of lockdown, by slowing down the progress of pandemic in India, has prevented 14-29 lakh cases and 37,000-78,000 deaths,” he said in reply to a written question.
The minister said the period of lockdown helped the nation to create the much required additional health infrastructure. During this time, dedicated isolation beds recorded a 22 times increase and dedicated ICU beds expanded by 14 times in comparison to the numbers in March 2020.
Similarly, he said, laboratory capacity for testing COVID-19 was increased by nearly 10 times during the lockdown.
While there was no indigenous manufacturing of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) with the requisite standards at the time when the lockdown was imposed, the country is now self-sufficient and in a position to export the same, he said.
Rai said similarly, very limited indigenous manufacturing capacity was available for masks, ventilators, etc. at the time of lockdown, which was also enhanced to attain self-reliance in this regard.
During this period, requirement of various cadres of personnel and volunteers across sectors and departments for COVID-related works and maintenance of other essential medical services were worked out and they were trained through resources made available on the website of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and iGOT, an online platform (https://igot.gov.in/igot/), he said.
‘Over 38.5 lakh COVID patients have recovered; one of the highest number of recoveries globally’
New Delhi: Amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases, the government on Tuesday said India learnt from the experience of nations that suffered high mortalities and was able to “distribute the curve” of coronavirus infection due to a “very effective” lockdown and avoid the “huge peak” those countries had in terms of deaths.
Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Balram Bhargava, hailed a very effective lockdown for India not experiencing a “huge peak” as some of the European countries.
At a press conference, Bhargava also said reinfection was “very, very rare” with COVID-19, but it can happen as had been seen in a case in Hong Kong
He, however, said it is not a matter of serious concern.
Talking about India’s COVID-19 fight, he said, “If you look at the countries of Europe and the United States, they had a peak and then they came down and during that peak whether it was Spain, the UK or Sweden or Italy, there were huge number of mortalities. Then there was a peak which came down and then they had a second wave which is recently occurring in those countries.”
“Fortunately, we took learnings from that in India and we were able to, what we call, ‘distribute the curve’. We distributed the curve in such a way that we did not have those large number of deaths and that was attributable scientifically because of a very effective lockdown that was imposed in the months late March, April and May. So, we did not really have a huge peak from that perspective,” he said.
Asserting that India has one of the largest number of COVID-19 recoveries, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there are 14 states and union territories (UTs) in the country where the number of active cases are less than 5,000.
Bhushan said there are 18 states and UTs in the country where the total number of active cases are between 5,000 and 50,000, while there are only four states with more than 50,000 active cases.
India’s cases per million population is amongst the lowest in the world, which stands at 3,573 while the global average is 3,704, he said.
Bhushan also underlined that India’s COVID-19 deaths per million population at 58 is also amongst the lowest in the world and the global average is 118.
Asserting that there has been a progressive rise in India’s COVID-19 testing, he said, “We took 27 days to double our testing from 1 crore to 2 crore. However, we took only 10 days to jump from 4 crore tests to 5 crore tests.”
Highlighting the high number of recoveries in India, Bhushan said more than 38.5 lakhs patients have recovered and the number was among the highest in the world with Johns Hopkins University data stating that India has the highest recoveries.
Bhushan said that five states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — account for 60 per cent of the total active cases in the country.
He also said active cases (9,90,061) are only one-fifth or 20 per cent of the total cases (38,59,399) and the recovery rate stands at 78.28 per cent.