An internal government assessment suggests that India may touch its peak of coronavirus cases in the first week of May after which the number will decline, sources in the Home Ministry have said. States which implemented hard lockdowns earlier than others have fared better when it comes to the crisis and are seeing their overall numbers decline, the sources added.
Rajasthan, Punjab and Bihar which were first few states to announce lockdowns have managed to avoid sharp jumps in the cases compared to states which went for partial curbs at first like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
“The next one week is crucial. India is going to ramp up its testing. All those who have symptoms related to Severe Acute Respiratory Infection will be tested,” a senior bureaucrat told NDTV.
According to him, the government expects a continued rise in coronavirus cases over the next few days. “The numbers will increase as we will test more and also as the number of people who are being isolated with symptoms is also increasing every day,” he said.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the lockdown to May 3 earlier this week, India has added around 2,800 coronavirus positive cases taking the total well past 12,000. Some 36,000 people have been placed either in isolation in government facilities or have been home quarantined. As of Thursday, nearly 3.6 lakh people were in isolation facilities or home quarantined.
“Most of these would be tested by the government,” said an officer, adding that the major challenge before the government is not only to contain clusters but also the spread of sporadic cases.
“Clusters can be contained but it’s very difficult to stop the spread of scattered cases,” he added.
To stress the fact that the nationwide lockdown has been working, central government officials give the examples of three states.
Rajasthan, which was the first state to announce a complete lockdown, has 1,076 infected patients and 221 recoveries. According to data collected by the Home Ministry, the state has 7,448 people in isolation as of Thursday.
Punjab has 188 infected patients including 27 recoveries and 13 deaths. Over 11,000 people in isolation facilities.
Bihar has reported 72 positive cases and 29 recoveries. The state has nearly 12,000 people in isolation and only one death has been reported due to coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra which was late with announcing the curbs, now has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country at over 3,000 and 75,000 people in isolation. The state has also seen the maximum number of deaths in the entire country so far at 187.
Uttar Pradesh, which initially ordered a partial lockdown in just 15 districts, has 727 positive cases, 51 recoveries, 11 deaths and 37,223 people in isolation.
Gujarat has reported 766 positive cases, 118 recoveries, 33 deaths and 15,147 are in isolation wards or have been quarantined.
Though Delhi added 424 cases between Tuesday and Wednesday, the number of people in quarantine came down 15,327 to 14,504.
Officials who are crunching the numbers say that states like Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are the big cause of worry.
Andhra Pradesh is seeing a rise in its graphs steadily, with 525 confirmed cases and 58,534 people being in quarantine facilities. The state now accounts for the second-highest number of people kept in isolation.
Madhya Pradesh has 938 positive cases and 53 deaths. As many as 9,198 persons are in isolation.