Coronavirus has spread to 30% of India’s districts

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Managing Covid-19 will be more challenging for authorities as SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing it, has spread to 30% of the country’s districts.

Union ministry of health data shows that the government has been able to ascertain cases in 211 of 720 districts in the country, with some big states reporting more than 60% of districts as infected while many have over 30%.

This number is likely to increase as the ministry has only accounted for district-reporting of 1,965 positive cases, while the total number in India is over 2,000.

Experts say the continuing spread of the virus across states could hamper their efforts as they may face shortages of testing kits and lack of medical facilities, among other challenges.

“The endeavour is to contain the spread in districts that have already reported. The lockdown has helped to an extent, although initial movement of people hurt us,” a senior official in the Karnataka government said.

30 percent

As per district-wise projections by Santosh Ansumali, professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), and Aloke Kumar of IISc, India may require more than 16,000 respiratory pumps and nearly 5,000 ventilators to treat patients by April-end.

The health ministry says there are more than 6,000 ventilators and over 2,000 ICU beds will be ready across the country. But more than 100 dedicated Covid-19 treatment facilities, but most are in district headquarters or big cities.

Among the 17 states and one Union Territory that have more than 20 districts, 11 have more than 20% of districts affected.

Toby Simon of think tank Synergia Foundation said: “Local authorities at the district and tehsil levels have to review preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities in surveillance and isolation, while prioritising testing and supporting the healthcare system.”



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