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Difficult To Predict If India Will See Second Wave Of COVID-19: Indian Council Of Medical Research Chief

ICMR Chief Dr Balram Bhargava said that the COVID-19 situation was rapidly evolving and there have been immense variations in spread of infection and mortality rates in different geographies and across different demographics around the world

Difficult To Predict If India Will See Second Wave Of COVID-19: Indian Council Of Medical Research Chief
Highlights
  • Owing to varied geography, India to have smaller peaks at different times
  • Follow measures like social distancing, use of masks and hand hygiene: ICMR
  • ICMR ramping up testing capacity since the start of pandemic: Dr Bhargava

New Delhi: ICMR Chief Dr Balram Bhargava said has said that it is difficult to predict whether or not India will see a second wave of COVID-19 infections and there will be smaller peaks at different times due to varied geography of the country. In an exclusive interview with ANI, (Prof) Dr Bhargava also said that the situation was rapidly evolving and there have been immense variations in spread of infection and mortality rates in different geographies and across different demographics around the world.

Also Read: Health Minister Satyendar Jain Explains Delhi’s Model Against Coronavirus, Shares His Experience Of Battling The Disease

SARS-CoV-2 is a novel virus. There is still a lot we don’t know about it. We have also seen immense variations in the spread of infection and mortality rates in different geographies and across different demographics around the world. So, it is difficult to predict whether or not India will see a second wave of infections. There is also a wide variation in disease distribution in specific states – so one size cannot fit all, he said.

The Director-General of India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said apart from the scientific inputs, full participation of all citizens is essential to overcome the COVID-19 challenge.

Due to the varied geography of our nation, there would be smaller peaks at different times. The situation is rapidly evolving, and we will continue to monitor it. However, it is pertinent that people follow preventive measures like social distancing, use of masks and hand hygiene. The right intervention approach, the scientific input and full participation of all citizens and communities is essential to overcome the COVID-19 challenge he said.

Dr Bhargava, a key scientist involved in monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country, said ICMR has been monitoring this disease since January 2020 and its lab at the National Institute of Virology is also amongst the first few in the world to completely isolate the virus to learn more about its characteristics and lay the groundwork for finding a potential cure.

Also Read: Overemphasis On Fever As A Predominant Symptom Of Coronavirus May Lead To Missing Several Cases: AIIMS Study

Asked how ICMR will tackle any future threat of virus, Dr Bhargava said that even before COVID-19 struck, ICMR had set up a platform with other 10 South East Asian countries to conduct collaborative research on emerging diseases.

We have been at the forefront of tackling diseases like Nipah, Zika and other emerging infections, he said.

The scientist said that “three Ds – Data, Development and Delivery” are at the core of tackling any public health crisis.

Data is important to make evidence-based decisions for interventions and in policymaking. Development of innovative tools that can drive innovation in the public health space is also critical. For instance, the indigenously developed, rapid and highly accurate ELISA test is helping the country to detect the extent of coronavirus spread in the country. Finally, delivery needs to be strengthened to ensure that these interventions reach the beneficiary, he said.

Also Read: Smokers Are More Likely To Develop Severe Symptoms Of COVID-19: Ministry Of Health

Dr Bhargava said ICMR has been continually ramping up testing capacity since the beginning of the pandemic.

We started with less than 100 tests per day near the beginning of the pandemic and today we have the capacity of testing over 5 lakh samples a day with labs set up even at 18,000 feet in Ladakh. ICMR has crossed the milestone of 2,02,02,858 tests and we are now the country with 4th highest number of tests conducted globally, he said.

ICMR has also written to private and government medical colleges to increase testing for the virus and it will support these institutions to get the required infrastructure and training for testing, he said.

ICMR recently set up three new state-of-the-art testing facilities in Noida, Mumbai and Kolkata, which can increase testing capacity, reduce risk of exposure for lab technicians and decrease turn-around time.

Over time, once the pandemic is controlled, these facilities can also be used for the testing of other diseases such as tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C, HIV etc, Dr Bhargava said.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Launches Three COVID-19 Testing Facilities In Noida, Mumbai, Kolkata

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,29,84,542Cases
20,45,14,204Active
3,35,32,126Recovered
49,38,212Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,29,84,542 and 49,38,212 have died; 20,45,14,204 are active cases and 3,35,32,126 have recovered as on October 23, 2021 at 3:51 am.

India

3,41,59,562 16,326Cases
1,73,7282,017Active
3,35,32,126 17,677Recovered
4,53,708 666Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,59,562 confirmed cases including 4,53,708 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,73,728 and 3,35,32,126 have recovered as on October 23, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,99,850 1,632

27,747 152

64,32,138 1,744

1,39,965 40

Kerala

48,97,884 9,361

81,490 603

47,88,629 9,401

27,765 563

Karnataka

29,85,227 378

8,920 97

29,38,312 464

37,995 11

Tamil Nadu

26,92,949 1,152

13,531 259

26,43,431 1,392

35,987 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,62,781 478

5,398 102

20,43,050 574

14,333 6

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,069 1

85 22

16,87,085 23

22,899

West Bengal

15,84,492 846

7,577 42

15,57,882 792

19,033 12

Delhi

14,39,526 38

340 29

14,14,095 8

25,091 1

Odisha

10,37,523 467

4,197 139

10,25,025 603

8,301 3

Chhattisgarh

10,05,799 26

214 8

9,92,013 18

13,572

Rajasthan

9,54,396 1

32 4

9,45,410 5

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,378 25

165 9

8,16,126 16

10,087

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,729 8

80 8

7,82,126 16

10,523

Haryana

7,71,133 8

122 9

7,60,962 17

10,049

Bihar

7,26,045 3

30 0

7,16,354 3

9,661

Telangana

6,69,932 193

3,963 4

6,62,025 196

3,944 1

Assam

6,08,126 315

3,866 104

5,98,296 209

5,964 2

Punjab

6,02,163 28

230 4

5,85,382 24

16,551

Jharkhand

3,48,562 36

183 17

3,43,244 19

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,799 12

166 10

3,36,235 22

7,398

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,494 108

870 56

3,26,195 52

4,429

Himachal Pradesh

2,22,312 174

1,483 31

2,17,096 141

3,733 2

Goa

1,77,819 54

600 18

1,73,862 72

3,357

Puducherry

1,27,621 57

454 0

1,25,314 56

1,853 1

Manipur

1,23,107 56

906 440

1,20,294 494

1,907 2

Mizoram

1,16,689 745

9,636 398

1,06,653 1,143

400

Tripura

84,376 7

98 7

83,462 14

816

Meghalaya

83,269 59

698 37

81,128 94

1,443 2

Chandigarh

65,320 5

28 2

64,472 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,075 10

141 1

54,654 9

280

Sikkim

31,842 23

183 2

31,266 25

393

Nagaland

31,689 19

245 5

30,766 23

678 1

Ladakh

20,896

40 3

20,648 3

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,679 1

4 0

10,671 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,646

6 1

7,511 1

129

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