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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

British media hails India's handling of Covid-19

England, Scotland and Wales today announced a further 586 coronavirus deaths, with the official death toll now standing at 21,678 in Britain.  Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced  that the Government would change its daily statistics announcements to include, for the first time, people who die outside of hospitals, such as in care homes or in their own houses. He also said testing would now be expanded so that anyone in a hospital or a care home - staff, residents and patients - will be able to get tested for coronavirus whether they have symptoms or not. Anyone over the age of 65 with a fever or a new cough, and the people who live with them, will also now have routine access to testing.

A shock report today revealed the UK's real death toll may be 55 per cent higher than the daily updates given by the Department of Health because they don't include people dying outside of hospitals and don't take into account a lag in how fatalities are recorded.  ONS data, which is released each week and offers the only true picture on how many people have died outside of hospitals, recorded 3,096 COVID-19 care home deaths by April 17. This was almost triple the 1,043 total announced the week before, with 2,000 new fatalities in the space of a week.

~ even as they struggle with Covid-19, biased reporting by the British Press generally would not stop – yet here is something on what they are writing about India – full of praise !

India has reported only 934 deaths from 29,435 cases in a country of 1.3billion…. .. India's low death rate from coronavirus is puzzling experts, who say the country's young population is an advantage but warn the figures are likely to be incomplete. Fears of an appalling death toll in a country of 1.3billion have not yet been realised, with only 934 deaths from 29,435 cases so far.

India imposed a drastic nationwide lockdown on March 30, when the country had confirmed only a few hundred cases - moving earlier than much of Europe. India's median age of 28 is well below that in the US (38), Britain (41), Spain (43) or Italy (45), an advantage against a virus which is most dangerous to the elderly. However, India's testing rate is small for the size of its population and experts fear there could be a large tally of 'missing' deaths among people who died at home – well people living in India know well, how much of a lie is this – TN Govt is managing well and we do not feel that people are dying at home !

This graph shows the daily number of deaths, which has remained below 100 a day so far - a low death rate which is puzzling experts.  India's fatality rate of 3.2 per cent - meaning around one in 31 confirmed patients has died - is well below that in Britain, Italy or Spain, although not Germany.  Prime minister Narendra Modi says India is at 'war' with the virus and has urged his 1.3billion citizens to keep observing the lockdown. 'We should not be trapped into over-confidence and nurse the belief that coronavirus has not reached our city, our village, our streets, our office, and so will not reach them,' he said.  In a good measure, all domestic and international travel is banned, factories and offices are shut along with schools, and migrant workers have been moved to quarantine centres. The country's land borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal have all been closed. The border with Pakistan is heavily controlled in any case.

Medical journal The Lancet says India's measures are 'already having the desired effect of flattening the epidemic curve'. 'The lockdown has also given the government time to prepare for a possible surge in cases when the pandemic is forecasted to peak in the coming weeks,' researchers say. The measures were imposed when India had only 482 cases, only a week after Boris Johnson ordered Britons to stay at home when the UK already had 6,650. India's lockdown is currently due to expire on May 3, but could be extended further. India's numbers are low enough to employ a successful 'cluster containment' strategy by detecting cases early and tracing that person's contacts. India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, home to 200million people, has set up ten laboratories to test for Covid-19 since the first case was reported on March 3.

Meanwhile, the worst-hit state of Maharashtra - which includes Mumbai - has deployed drones and mass patrols to enforce the lockdown.  Experts have also highlighted India's experience in tackling previous disease outbreaks including polio and HIV.  Dr Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergencies expert, said last month that India's success in eliminating polio was an example of how it could deal with Covid-19. The World Health Organisation also praised India's handling of the Nipah virus in 2018, especially its effective contact tracing after an outbreak in Kerala. 

After recording a dip in the number of cases of coronavirus infection over the past few days, Tamil Nadu has once again reported a spike, with 120 new cases on Tuesday. Of this number, 103 were recorded in state capital Chennai alone.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28.4.2020 @ 11:02pm.

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