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World Health Organisation Lauds India’s Effort In COVID-19 Fight, Urges To Focus On Data Management

According to WHO, India’s big challenge is population, its geographic diversity, heterogeneity and the fact that India has multiple epidemics going in every state

  • India has become self-sufficient in testing kits, big achievement: WHO
  • Today, India is doing more than 200 thousand COVID-19 tests a day: WHO
  • Important to know the test positivity rate, should be under 5%: WHO

New Delhi: Even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) lauded the Indian government for its efforts in tackling COVID-19, the world nodal health agency said that India should also focus on data management originating from the pandemic. According to WHO, India’s big challenge is “population”, its geographic diversity, heterogeneity and the fact that India has multiple epidemics going on every state. WHO appreciated the Indian government’s strong political leadership to focus on important things like developing diagnostics and being able to scale that up, also being very systematic about the lockdown measures and unlocking in an organised manner.

Also Read: Novel Coronavirus Outbreak: “India’s Response And Surveillance Has Been Quite Robust,” Says WHO’s Chief Scientist

This is now the next phase India and many other countries are facing and should think about a long-term strategy, says WHO.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at WHO, said,

The Government of India took extremely serious steps from the beginning and put in place certain measures in January itself based on the WHO recommendations. Today, India is doing more than 200 thousand tests a day. Now, India is developing testing kits. It is a big achievement for India that in the last couple of months as India has become self-sufficient in testing kits and being able to scale up.

“However, I would like to say that there should be a focus on data. By that, I mean that we need to have a systematic approach to looking at the data,” added Dr Swaminathan.

She said that the moment people start focusing on the total number of cases and the total number of deaths — it gives only part of the story.

Also Read: Six Months Of Fighting Coronavirus: Pandemic Is Speeding Up, Not Even Close To Being Over, Says WHO Chief

There needs to be some kind of national guidelines on how you report data. Otherwise, you cannot compare. Everybody is reporting things in different ways, she said citing an example that WHO has recommended certain criteria that the government can use to assess where the epidemic is.

She said that the first thing one must know is the epidemiology of the disease, i.e. where and what is the number of cases per million population and it all depends upon the tests.

If we do not test, we are not going to find the case. Reporting of the case alone is not sufficient. We need to know how many tests have been done. Most importantly, we need to know the test positivity rate. This should be under 5 per cent. We also need to know the percentage of positivity of disease surveillance. SARI and ILI surveillance should be under 5 per cent. Then, we need to keep track of the doubling time, Dr Swaminathan stated.

Also Read: Coronavirus Will Be With Us For A Long Time: World Health Organisation

“So, instead of focusing only on numbers, all we need to know things like — how the epidemiology is going. Is it going up or down or it is on a plateau. That is what we need to know,” said the WHO Chief Scientist.

Highlighting the importance of public health capacities in India, Dr Swaminathan said that it is very important to know how many contacts are traced for every case and how many of them are quarantined and within what period of time.

Dr Swaminathan explained, “If you can do it within 48 to 72 hours, then only it is helpful. There is no point tracing contact after 10 days. It is too late. As soon as cases are detected, we have to trace the contact and the higher the number of contacts you trace, the higher number you can put in quarantine is better. This shows how well our public health system is doing.”

Then we have another set of criteria in our clinical care is that to know what is the bed capacity for mild/severe cases, what is the ICU occupancy and then, of course, the death rate. The death has to be calculated properly because deaths follow after two or three weeks of the occupancy. You take as a numerator the number of deaths and denominators should be the number of cases you have two weeks ago, not today. That actually reflects your mortality rate/case fatality rate, she said.

Also Read: WHO Special Envoy Appreciates India For Keeping A Good Eye On Coronavirus Despite Low Testing When Compared To Other Countries

Epidemiological parameters to detect the prevalence of antibodies in the community are essential to know the trend.

Like the ICMR did serosurvey– something you need to do periodically to see how much of the population has been exposed, Dr Swaminathan said.

She added, “We need to have a dashboard of criteria which every state should have and it helps every state to monitor how they are doing. This also helps to compare data across the states and the government can give more resources to those states which need more strengthening, like in terms of bed shortage, ICU.”

Besides, states can also help each other. Narrating an example of how it was done in Europe. Dr Swaminathan explained, “When there was an acute shortage of beds in France, the government actually moved patients from France to Germany for ICU care. States could also help each other out.”

So, there is a need to develop this kind of mechanism because COVID-19 is going to stay for a long term as it is not going to over in few months, she expressed.

Also Read: ‘Indians Know How To Do It’, Says WHO Special Envoy Appreciating India’s Quick Response To COVID-19

Another important thing that Dr Swaminathan highlighted that healthcare system should also provide other services.

We cannot just focus on COVID-19 alone because we have other health problems in the country. Otherwise, those health problems such as TB, vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, institutional deliveries, elective surgeries and rehabilitation may get worse than COVID-19. So those things have to be brought back to normal and capacity of the healthcare system has to be increased, she said.

According to the Union Health Ministry, as of July 4, India has reported 6,48,315 confirmed cases and 18,655 deaths due to coronavirus.

Also Read: We Can’t Expect Relaxations In Physical Distancing Anytime Soon: WHO’s Dr David Nabarro


Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,58,63,058 and 52,55,859 have died; 22,65,37,591 are active cases and 3,40,69,608 have recovered as on December 6, 2021 at 5:12 am.


3,46,41,561 8,306Cases
3,40,69,608 8,834Recovered
4,73,537 211Deaths
In India, there are 3,46,41,561 confirmed cases including 4,73,537 deaths. The number of active cases is 98,416 and 3,40,69,608 have recovered as on December 6, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

66,38,778 707

10,826 23

64,86,782 677

1,41,170 7


51,65,921 4,450

44,110 317

50,80,211 4,606

41,600 161


29,98,099 456

7,161 120

29,52,708 330

38,230 6

Tamil Nadu

27,30,516 724

8,041 29

26,85,946 743

36,529 10

Andhra Pradesh

20,73,730 154

2,122 27

20,57,156 177

14,452 4

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,475 24

134 18

16,87,430 6


West Bengal

16,19,257 620

7,639 17

15,92,074 627

19,544 10


14,41,358 63

370 48

14,15,890 15



10,50,249 189

2,154 25

10,39,673 212

8,422 2


10,06,967 25

330 4

9,93,044 21



9,54,891 17

221 8

9,45,715 9



8,27,707 48

349 23

8,17,263 24

10,095 1

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,241 9

133 9

7,82,580 18



7,71,819 22

185 5

7,61,580 17



7,26,237 6

26 4

7,14,121 2



6,76,943 156

3,787 8

6,69,157 147

3,999 1


6,17,576 101

2,490 61

6,08,966 158

6,120 4


6,03,488 37

361 14

5,86,519 23



3,49,342 25

127 12

3,44,074 13



3,44,353 8

174 1

3,36,768 7


Jammu And Kashmir

3,37,807 161

1,706 25

3,31,620 184

4,481 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,518 35

755 45

2,22,911 80



1,79,174 49

412 18

1,75,375 31



1,36,454 92

3,101 454

1,32,846 544

507 2


1,29,085 29

280 14

1,26,930 43



1,25,360 32

353 9

1,23,025 40

1,982 1


84,858 5

90 1

83,943 6



84,583 9

244 2

82,864 11



65,488 7

58 2

64,610 9


Arunachal Pradesh

55,293 5

36 4

54,977 1



32,369 10

215 2

31,749 8




117 9

31,320 9



21,714 31

295 3

21,204 34


Dadra And Nagar Haveli


0 0





10 0



Andaman And Nicobar Islands


4 2

7,555 2


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