Mumbai, Delhi, Indore, Pune, Bhopal and Chennai will be among the identified 20 cities, as well as others where the test-to-positive affirmation rate has been high, requiring specialized treatment given their density and large slums. ET has learned that the Center will conduct a comprehensive review of its testing strategy in the first week of June and will therefore decide to increase, direction and protocol for further testing. The review is scheduled for July, which is expected to be a critical month for India’s Covid-19 case track.
Internal government assessments are looking at 500,000-700,000 positive cases by the end of July and are already ready to prepare to deal with this scenario. While procurement of health support systems to tackle the virus is currently satisfactory, sources said the county’s health infrastructure will feel the strain if it hits the worst-case scenario – of 800,000 to 1 million positive cases at the end of August, along with a significant increase in cases per day.
It will also be the point at which the policy shifts from focused testing to focused treatment. India currently has over 91,000 positive cases from Covid-19 – with almost 4,000-5,000 cases added every day. The virus’s geographical spread is also expected to shift to the east with migrant workers returning – both Bihar and Odisha are already reporting a threefold increase in cases.
However, officials said the outbreak may be contained in dispersal to rural areas as returning workers are quarantined before entering their villages. While West Bengal has finally squeezed the test and is now on a much better jog, there is fresh concern emerging from Gujarat and Telangana. Both states have seen a decline in the number of tests conducted, an issue already addressed by the Center with the two state governments. Maharashtra with its very high test speed is still alarming.
Data per May 15 suggests that against the national average of 4.3% of testing for Covid-19 Positive Ratio, Maharashtra stood at an alarming 11.9%, Delhi stands at 9.0%, Gujarat constitutes 7.8%, Chhattisgarh at 6%, Telangana at 5.4%, Madhya Pradesh at 4.9% and West Bengal at 4.6%.
As for India’s readiness, the situation is better in terms of PPE, N95 mask requirements, and all efforts are to build a 28-day stock instead of the current 15 days.
The country will move from the antibody test schedule to the ELISA testing mechanism which will be rolled out within 14 days. There are also plans to have a molecular diagnostic laboratory running in all of the country’s medical universities.