The decision of imposing a nationwide Coronavirus lockdown in March was timely due to which the curve of COVID-19 cases has begun to flatten, a senior government official told reporters on Friday. India went into a three-week lockdown on March 25 and later extended till May 3, owing to a rise in cases, particularly in densely populated urban and semi-urban districts. Barring essential services, all forms of travel were prohibited, with air and trains services grinding to a halt.
Dr. VK Paul, Niti Aayog member and Chairman of Empowered Group 1 for COVID response, said, "Our analysis shows lockdown has been effective in slowing the doubling rate of COVID-19 and saved lives. The lockdown decision was timely as the around 23,000 cases in India today could have been 73,000. The big decision of nation-wide lockdown taken by PM proves to have been very timely and beneficial, as shown by the change in India's case growth trajectory."
The nation has shown that lockdown has been effective in saving lives, containing COVID-19 infection and slowing down doubling rate, the official added, further stressing that continued efforts are needed to build on those gains.
Nation-wide lockdown helped take us away from the exponential growth curve and thereby contain the growth of #COVID19 cases— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 24, 2020
- Chairman, Empowered Group 1 #IndiaFightsCoronavirus pic.twitter.com/rOWZsiOAow
Dr. VK Paul also stated that surveillance has been a great strength in containing the Coronavirus outbreak and "besides containing spread, augmenting testing, improving preparedness, the nation has brought about a massive behaviour change through a Jan Andolan". The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) informed that so far, nearly 9.45 lakh people are under surveillance for suspected COVID-19 infection and prompt sampling of these people are taken upon detection of symptoms.
"If we had not taken the decision of nation-wide lockdown, we would have had around 1 lakh COVID-19 cases by now, a reasonable estimate," the Niti Aayog member said.
Since #Lockdown, growth in positive cases not exponential; During lockdown period, despite a 24 fold increase in testing, percentage of positive cases is not rising: Media briefing on Status of #Covid_19india pic.twitter.com/2oIRO5ObIZ— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 23, 2020
Speaking on India's record on testing people for COVID-19, Paul said the country's testing strategy has stood the test of time. "The volume of testing has been adequate. Despite an increase in testing, the proportion of positive cases has not increased," the official said, adding, "There is no need to fear the hidden spike in cases, the disease is in control."
The Health Ministry informed that 1,684 new cases of novel Coronavirus have been reported and 491 patients were cured in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 23,077 and recoveries to 4,748 with an improved recovery rate of 20.57%. The number of districts with no fresh cases in the last 28 days has risen to 15, with three additions — Durg and Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh. There are 80 districts from where no positive case has come up for 14 days.