Covid-19: India inches closer to 14,000 cases in highest single day spike

India received the much-awaited five lakh rapid COVID-19 testing kits from China. PTI
Covid-19 cases jumped to 13,835 and 452 deaths with India recording a new record in highest single day jump in confirmed cases, even as the health ministry claimed a 40 per cent decline in the growth rate of Covid-19 cases since the lockdown was imposed.

In the last 24 hours there have been 1,455 more cases, taking India’s total tally close to 14,000.

India’s average growth of Covid-19 cases between March 15 and March 31 was 2 per cent. Post the lockdown, in the last two weeks, the growth rate has come down to 1.2 per cent. “It is a product of how we are managing the situation at the ground level. This decline has happened after we have increased the collection of samples, including those affected with a severe acute respiratory infection,” said Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary, health ministry.

India has so far conducted 319,400 tests. Of these, 28,340 tests were conducted on Thursday. India is developing the capacity to manufacture 1 million test kits per month by May and 1 million rapid detection kits too by next month, Aggarwal said.

The doubling rate of cases in the country has dropped to 6.2 days over the past week as against three days before the lockdown was imposed.

“The cases will reduce if there is a lockdown, but it should force the government to continue this strategy indefinitely. We should use this time to prepare ourselves to face the increase in infections which is bound to happen when the lockdown is lifted,” said epidemiologist Jayaprakash Muliyil.

In 19 states and union territories, the doubling rate has been lower than the national average including in Delhi, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana and Haryana among others.

Health ministry data has also reported that 13 per cent of patients have recovered so far. The outcome ratio, Aggarwal said for cases recovered versus deaths in India shows 20 per cent are dying, while 80 per cent are recovering, better than the global average.

According to experts, however, many Covid-19 deaths might not be getting reported or diagnosed in time. “Most economically backward countries are reporting lower deaths due to lack of information systems. Unless an active effort is made to document, Covid deaths that number will not be known accurately,” Muliyil added.

Continuing their research on coronavirus, the Indian Medical Council of Research (ICMR) has found three varieties of coronavirus and has not found any mutation so far. “The virus does not mutate very fast. If it does, then we will adjust our science to it,” Raman R Gangakhedkar, head scientist, ICMR said.

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