New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) With nearly 7,000 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, and having registered an average over 5,000 cases in the past one week, India now ranks 10th in the global infection list, overtaking Iran, an early hotspot of coronavirus. Experts reckon the movement of migrant workers was a man-made crisis, which deterred India from reaping benefits of the lockdown, and was also one of the biggest factors behind the extraordinary surge in new cases.
Speaking to IANS, Dr Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Centre for Chest Surgery and Director in Institute of Robotic Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said the chaos has led to this sharp spike in coronavirus cases, and it is baffling as to what held back various state governments from providing food and money to migrant workers, which could have helped many to stay wherever they were.
“Movement of 50 lakh workers from one state to another was no less than a crisis, and it was man-made. Mismanagement of migrant workers’ crisis was India’s turning point in coronavirus crisis. Ferrying several lakh migrant workers has led to rural areas, which were miles away from the impact of Covid-19, being exposed,” said Kumar.
He added that workers moving from Mumbai to eastern Uttar Pradesh, which was yet to experience the Covid-19 crisis, would certainly begin to throw up a large number of positive cases in coming weeks. “The lockdown was not carried to a fruitful conclusion and few cities in India will soon be like Italy and the US,” said Kumar.
According to Health Ministry data, a record 6,977 new coronavirus cases and 154 more fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours in India, taking the total number of such cases to 1,38,845. Of the total, 77,103 are active cases and 4,021 individuals have lost their lives so far to the disease.
However, 57,721 patients have recovered so far, and at least 3,280 corona patients have recovered since Sunday, taking the recovery rate to 41.57 per cent. Maharashtra is worst-hit, with 50,231 cases, and it has nearly one-third of cases in the country. It is followed by Tamil Nadu with 16,277 cases and Gujarat with 14,056 cases. Delhi has 13,418 cases.
Dr Manoj Goel, Director Pulmonology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, said the reproduction number here of Covid-19 is 2.4 which mean 1 patient can infect 3 to 4 more persons. “Due to relaxation in the lockdown, the increasing mingling of people and movement of migrants, there will be an exponential spike in the number of cases. India is likely to follow the same epidemiological pattern of Covid-19 as in other countries,” he said.
Goel added that now the base for the rapid increase in numbers is established in India with over 1.25 lakh cases in the country. “Still, as much as possible, we must avoid person to person contact, crowding, public transport, and wear masks and also continue with hand hygiene practices to minimise the surge of this virus in the country,” he said.