The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has estimated that one sick person could infect up to 406 others in 30 days if there was no lockdown, health ministry officials said on Tuesday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases climbed to 4,789.
The ICMR study comes at a time when various state governments have requested the Centre to extend the 21-day lockdown beyond April 14.
The study talks about a scenario where 75 per cent of the lockdown is lifted. In such a situation, the same person would infect 2.5 persons.
“It is important to adopt lockdown measures, as it has been said that social distancing is the social vaccine. We request everyone to help us help you,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, health ministry.
The ICMR had earlier estimated the R-naught, or R0, a unit which measures how many people can one patient infect, between 1.5 and 4. For its latest study, ICMR assumed the RO to be 2.5. One of the highest ROs was seen in measles — 10.
Raman R Gangakhedkar, head of ICMR’s epidemiology and communicable diseases division, told the media that 107,006 tests for Covid-19 have been conducted till date. Around 136 government labs are engaged in this exercise and another 59 private labs have been permitted to carry out these tests.
The health ministry has also devised a strategy to manage the Covid-19 patients based on the level of illness. For those with mild infection, a Covid care centre will be provided using lodges, hostels, stadium, upgrading existing quarantine facilities.
For a moderate-level infection, a dedicated Covid health centre with assured oxygen support will be put in place with separate exit and entry to stop the spread of infection. The severely infected patients will be put in Covid health hospitals with intensive care units, ventilators and oxygen support.
“Guidance has been given to states to manage cases at the field level… States and Union territories have been told to give attention to adequate oxygen availability,” Agarwal said.
The Indian Railways has converted 2,500 coaches to create 40,000 isolation beds and is in the process of converting another 375 coaches into isolation units across 133 locations in the country.
He also said that the government’s containment strategy has shown great results in cities such as Agra, Gautam Budh Nagar, Bhilwara and Pathanamthitta.