Medical workers collecting samples for Covid-19 in New Delhi | Representational Image | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Medical workers collecting samples for Covid-19 in New Delhi | Representational Image | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Union health ministry’s Covid-19 briefing Monday brought a cause for cheer — India has reported the sharpest daily spurt in recoveries so far, with 1,074 people cured in the past 24 hours. 

“Till now, a total of 11,706 people have been cured and, if we see in the past 24 hours, 1,074 people have been cured. It is such positive news… this is the highest number in terms of cured patients noted to date,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India’s recovery rate, Agarwal added, stood at 27.52 per cent as of Monday. The outcome ratio, that is, ratio of cured cases to fatalities, saw an improvement from 17 April to 19 April, he said. “On 17 April the outcome ratio was at 80:20 and on 19 April this had improved to 90:10,” Agarwal added. 

The announcement came on a day India began to ease the nationwide lockdown in a staggered manner. According to fresh guidelines issued on 1 May, for an extended lockdown with fewer restrictions until 17 May, most commercial and private establishments are allowed to function at different capacities in the designated red, orange and green zones. Air travel, trains, metro and inter-state buses, however, remain barred, as does entry at places of worship. 

“In such pandemics, it has been historically noted that when there is a relaxation of social distancing, and social mobility is allowed, at that time if rules aren’t followed well and the restrictions aren’t imposed, then there could be an increase in the transmission of the disease,” Agarwal said.

Also Read: 4,000 rules in 4 months: Are civil servants creating chaos in India’s Covid-19 management?

‘A relatively flat curve’

The days leading upto the easing of the lockdown witnessed a sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. Just in the last 24 hours, India’s count the crossed the 42,000-mark, with over 2,000 new cases. 

The joint secretary, however, expressed optimism as he noted that cases were doubling at a slower rate. “It is critical to understand how an infectious disease spreads — it is always like a geometric progression… Before the lockdown, the doubling rate was 3.4 days, it has now increased to 12 days,” he said. 

When asked if the Covid-19 curve in India had flattened, he said, “The curve is relatively flat as of now… What is relevant is, we know how to prevent the disease. If we work collectively in that direction, then the peak may never come. If we fail at any point, then we will witness a spike,” he said. 

‘Community cooperation needed’

The easing of the lockdown Monday seemed to backfire in some places as large crowds gathered outside liquor stores, which opened after having remained closed since the restrictions first kicked in on 25 March. 

Several stores were reportedly shut down as videos of large queues and jostling crowds from outside these shops started making the rounds on social media. 

Asked about the reports, Agarwal lay the onus of social distancing on “community ownership”. “We have to keep reviving our systems while managing the disease and promote community ownership through a process in which the community is able to focus on social distancing as a norm in their life along with that government’s containment efforts.”  

As of Monday morning, the total number of cases in India stood at 42,533 with 29,453 active cases. The disease has killed 1,373 people so far. 

Also Read: Indian lockdown hits Ramadan buffalo exports, Russia’s 10,000 cases & other global Covid news


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