A review held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday saw a focus on the need to augment treatment and management of Covid patients with statistical projections pointing to a further increase in cases. Going by the current doubling rate of cases, India could reach a total of 25 lakh cases in around 80 days and while such scenarios depend on how effectively social distancing and containment strategies are implemented, there is need to be prepared, said sources.
The assessment shared at the meeting is expected to form the background of the Prime Minister’s consultations with chief ministers over two days next week that can be expected to focus on reviewing the easing of lockdown and measures to contain the disease, particularly in dense urban surroundings.
The meeting, attended by senior ministers and top officials, was presented with forecasts based on a few scenarios. The importance of dealing with high-incidence states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat was emphasised. While there has been a significant ramp up in testing and dedicated Covid hospitals since the beginning of March, more efforts may be required, while also keeping in mind the need to cater to a large number of patients needing treatment for non-Covid illnesses.
India’s Covid graph is expected to keep rising in the near future, though its growth has been even so far as the case burden has been distributed with the lockdown, officials have said. They have pointed out that a doubling rate of seven days, for example, would have seen India already cross the 10 lakh figure. The peak is likely to play out over a period of time and the government’s efforts are aimed at ensuring daily rise in cases does not become exponential.
Vinod Paul, NITI Aayog member and convenor of the empowered group on medical emergency management plan, made a detailed presentation on the current status and likely scenarios of Covid-19 cases in the medium term.
“It was observed that out of the total cases, two-thirds are in five states with an overwhelming proportion of cases in big cities. In view of the challenges being faced, particularly by the large cities, it was discussed to augment testing as well as number of beds and services to effectively handle the peak surge of daily cases,” the PMO said in a statement.
The PM took note of the recommendations on city and district-wise requirements of hospitals and isolation beds and instructed health ministry officials to undertake emergency planning in consultation with states and UTs. He also advised the ministry to ensure suitable preparations in view of the start of the monsoon.
The PM and the senior ministers appreciated that there have been many instances of outstanding work done by several states, districts and cities in containing and controlling the outbreak successfully. They suggested that these success stories and best practices be widely disseminated to provide inspiration and innovative ideas to others.