Could India be the next coronavirus hotspot with an 'avalanche' of cases?
India could become the next global hotspot for virus cases, with experts warning containment measures that proved successful elsewhere in Asia may not work in the world’s second-most populous country.
The South Asian nation, which has so far reported 126 infections and three deaths, is trying to contain the virus by closing its borders, testing incoming travellers and contact tracing from those who tested positive.
But some experts in the nation of 1.3 billion people say that won’t be enough to contain the spread. Other measures like widespread testing and social distancing may be infeasible in cities with a high population density and rickety health infrastructure.
While growth in total numbers has been slow until now, “the number will be 10 times higher” by April 15, said Dr. T. Jacob John, the former head of the Indian Council for Medical Research’s Centre for Advanced Research in Virology, a go nment-funded institution.
“They are not understanding that this is an avalanche,” said John, who was also chairman of the Indian Government Expert Advisory Group on Polio Eradication and chief of the National HIV/AIDS Reference Centre at the Christian Medical College in Vellore. “As every week passes, the avalanche is growing bigger and bigger.”
So far India has been relatively unscathed by the virus compared with other countries in Asia.
And Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the South Asian nation is doing it’s best to fight the spread of the virus.
A key concern in India is Maharashtra, the state with the highest urbanization in India and home to the financial capital Mumbai and benchmark stock exchange. It’s reported the biggest spread of the infection with 39 cases. Its go nment has called for a virtual lockdown of cities on Monday — shuttering all public places, putting off university exams and asking go nment offices and private companies to ensure at least half their staff work from home.
“Maharashtra is in the second stage at the moment,” Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra’s health minister told reporters in Mumbai. “But if we don’t curtail or stop the infection from spreading this contagious disease we could slip to stage three and that would mean a spike in the number of infections,” he said. “We have to contain this disease under any circumstances.”
Apart from its sheer size, India’s other challenge is the density of its population: 420 people live on each square kilometer (about 0.4 of a square mile), compared with 148 per square kilometer in China. Its cities are crammed with slums and low-income housing clusters where the living conditions are tight.
While South Korea was able to test even asymptomatic people, India’s population “makes it extremely difficult,” said Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University and president of the New Delhi-based health think-tank Public Health Foundation of India.
“Social distancing is something often talked about but only works well for the urban middle class,” he added. “It doesn’t work well for the urban poor or the rural population where its extremely difficult both in terms of compactly packed houses, but also because many of them have to go to work in areas which are not necessarily suitable for social distancing.”
India on Tuesday announced that state-authorized private laboratories would be allowed to conduct tests. But the go nment has yet to release the list of authorized labs, according to Dr Lokesh Kumar Sharma, spokesman for the Indian Council of Medical Research said.
印度周二宣布，国家授权的私人实验室将被允许进行病毒测试。但印度医学研究委员会发言人Lokesh Kumar Sharma博士表示，政府尚未公布授权实验室的名单。
The pandemic, which has infected over 1,82,000 worldwide, with deaths topping 7000, has a pattern of surging after an initial slower phase. This was seen in nations such as South Korea and Italy -- the worst-affected countries outside of mainland China.
South Korea, which had a 2,000% jump in cases in a week last month, slowed the outbreak and deaths by testing hundreds of thousands of people in clinics and drive-through stations.
More than 5,200 potential cases have been identified through contact-tracing and put under surveillance in India, the health ministry said late Monday. Last week it suspended most visas and decided on Friday to limit international traffic through land crossings.
The country’s response to the coronavirus spread is driven by the limitations of its public health system, Reddy said. India’s health-care spending is among the lowest in the world -- just 3.7% of gross domestic product. That’s left it with a patchwork of overcrowded public hospitals, and private ones that are unaffordable for many people.
“I have reservations about our capacities to deal with this,” said Reddy. “Right now our responses are strategic to the extent that our resources permit.”
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/49536.html 译者：Joyceliu
the western saying "apple a day keeps the doctor away" can not work for the hindu people of india in this case. actually, it can not work for the white people either. you are going to need much more than an apple a day.
More Indians die in accidents everyday than corona virus daily toll. That didn't made them cautious how can a virus scare them.These articles cause more panic than finding solutions, another foreign media backed article to downplay good job Indian go nment has done so far
N Selva Muthu Kumaran
well said...but deliberate ignorance from most Indians should not create havoc.... though Govt is doing all its best to contain... People have to cooperate......
India will not be able to handle this epidemic if it explodes. So it is imperative that all group activities, be it educational institutions be it colleges or schools or organizations across the country needs to shut down temporarily till 31March so that there is no community spreading of the virus. At present Govts of most states have restricted group activities by closing down gyms. Weddings, etc. However more needs to be done to close other possible areas so that the spread is stemmed at the initial stages.
the spread of this virus is through crowding. Staying indoors with children is difficult. Further only people go out they can earn. these factors will weigh more in the coming days.
What is noticed our Health care system has not considered population of India, Poverty in INDIA
eating meat or eggs should be banned at least until april 15th if not for ever.
of course, the above has to be done in addition to the customary recommended behavioral precautions already in place - like hand washing, keeping "social distance" etc. don't mean to mislead or any such stuff. one of the remedies indicated in the use of quinine based medication - something obtainable from ayurveda sources if you consult a good practitioner.
Indian medical system has been like an army ever engaged with an enemy, so ever combat ready. I think other nations medical system lacks that. Although they are strong but were caught unaware by the enemy even though they may be technologically superior. Remember wars are not won through weapons, they are won through courage which comes only through readiness. And India is Eveready.
“ Could “ is so useful for these subjective speculations that often remind you of astrological predictions of the same kind !
India is a holy land of many Gods and religions...nothing will happen...be cool.
A wonderful piece by kindergarten journalists.
They are from Doomberg, no less !
Will maintain the did and don'ts provided by WHO. Mostly every one is adhering all the norms. Will wait and see that how we are protecting ourselves from this virud.
This article is long text for little content. This such a senior person why scaring others without giving logic analysis and solution. No use of his seniority rather it's detrimental to society
Exactly. We have unbridled fre m and very BIG Ego.
Chinese in comparison are so humble
good that corona virus has no any religion and nationality. other wise this viruses would have kept fighting among themselves and perished. this virus must be stopped at border itself.
International traveller must be banned immediately
The one & only one solution BE INDIAN, BUY INDIAN!
ban all international arrivals for one month, India will be safe , those are the carriers of virus into the nation
virus will have marginal efect on Indian population .. it affects super senior senior citizens( persons) so young population is comparatively safe
Can someone booked this writer for spreading panic among people...? Even at a time when the whole world is fighting against virus impact...People needs to behave maturely...I feel most people scared of death if test positive...Their willingness to fight reduces...So people needs to spread awareness and positivity...Rather than creating panic...
Government must review penal provision in IPC to curb spreading fear and rumor mongering by media immediately.These are being paid for by hostile neighbors and united kingdom for last few years spearheaded by BBC/Reuter/Guardian on daily basis.
Why is this desire to see India in a bad light?
The scary thing is this virus is highly contagious unlike other viruses. once it spreads like 1000, it will divide like insane
We are trying to bolt the door after the Virus has come inside the house. people are abusing Bloomberg. They should question Govt for not acting in time. Large scale Disater is the making of this Govt sadly.
you are just may be blind and may be deaf. Govt has taken unprecedented measures to contain the virus spread and with such huge large number of population and we are just at 100s cases compared to other nations. Learn to praise the good of govt, don't keep criticising the govt all the time. Else you become someday mad.
Govt should have acted 6 weeks earlier. They should have worked with China & other International agencies 6 weeks ago rather than mocking China.
Bloomberg is known for its anti India stand, kindly avoid such one-sided articles which are written to spread panic
India being a God fearing country where majority of people worship their different religious Gods, it is hoped that the all the Gods will kindly spare the citizens from onslaught of Covid-19.
- Will they swallow their words in case we do a much better job in containment than CHina, Italy or the US, which seems 100% likely right now given we still have only about 130 odd cases