Poor at risk in India’s blindfolded fight against Covid-19

India reported its first case of Covid-19 disease on January 30, 2020. The disease was diagnosed in a patient in Kerala State, who had returned from Wuhan (China).
The initial response of the authorities was casual, treating the emerging outbreak as something limited to those returning from abroad. It was with this approach to the disease that the health authorities at the beginning restricted the testing only to the returnees or those who had come in direct contact with a confirmed case.
However, even after it dawned on the authorities that the problem was much bigger one than they had initially anticipated, the scope of testing remained very small and India continued to be one of the countries, with confirmed cases, that had fewest tests when compared with their population size. According to health check, a health journalism portal, India was as of March 30, 2020 testing 28 people per million. It may be noted that this figure was reached after a 22% increase in testing during the last week of March. The ratio of imported to local cases in the second week of April was 27% to 73%.
Indian health authorities’ another major mistake in the handling of the epidemic was that contact tracing, till the end of March, was not being done too meticulously.
It would not be wrong to say that without mass-testing and an aggressive contact tracing program, actions such as imposing lockdown are meaningless and are nothing more than delaying tactics. It is feared that the disease would spread rapidly once the restrictions are lifted. Read More…

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