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The strategic preparedness and response plan for Covid-19 in India

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As on 10th June, India’s Coronavirus tally rose to 2,76,583 after 9,985 cases were reported in 24 hours. The death toll increased to 7,745 after 274 deaths were reported in a day. India is now the fifth most-affected country in the world. The recovery is however substantial at about 50%. The fatality rate is low at 2.8% of total cases. This gives India rank 120.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 72.37 lakh people and claimed over 4.11 lakh lives so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As many as 33.70 lakh people have recovered. More than 136000 new cases were reported overnight worldwide on 7th June.

As per global evidence, 80% of Covid cases are mild cases and out of the hospitalized, about 5% may require ICU care. On this basis, it can be assumed Covid tally in India would in near future reach about 400000 cases, we should have hospitalization bed readily available for 20% of it at about 80000 Covid patients and about 4000 ICUs for critical patients.

In the first fortnight of April, the health ministry said it has earmarked over one lakh bed for this purpose. If this is true, then it should suffice for the time being. But it must be remembered that these beds are to be for exclusive use of Corona patients, since horrific visuals of hospitals denying admissions are in the public domain.

The next important area is testing. If, one argues that the number of cases per million in India is quite less than that of the USA, Russia or the UK one also needs to compare the number of testing per million in these countries.

Testing per million in

  • The USA is 66,923
  • Russia is 92,820 
  • The UK is 86,502

Whereas in India, testing per million is only 3,670 as given on June10. We have increased our testing by many folds but still, it is not enough to flatten the curve.

It is also important to note that so far, we have seen too much confusion in rules & regulations for testing & treatment in private labs and private hospitals. Therefore, there is a need to come up with a proper system of dispensing information with regard to the medical facilities available across the country and a central data base inter alia, is a must which will give the online availability of hospital beds and testing facilities in all hospitals in all centres in India and the Covid-19 protocol for patients.

It only remains to emphasize the collective nature of the struggle against Covid and in this deepest ailment of the world, the citizenry, civil society and the private sector and all must wholeheartedly put up their best in discharging their responsibilities.

The strategic preparedness and response plan for Covid-19 in India

By Sudip Bhattacharyya

The writer is a long- standing commentator on contemporary issues.

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