From one Covid-19 testing lab in Jan, India now has 220: Modi

From one Covid-19 testing lab in Jan, India now has 220: Modi

India is well prepared against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and has been able to minimize the threat posed by the pandemic to a large extent due to proactive and pre-emptive steps, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the nation on Tuesday, while announcing the extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3.

“On the health infrastructure front, we are moving ahead very fast. In January, there was one lab functional for COVID-19 testing (National Institute of Virology, or NIV, Pune), but now we have at least 220 labs doing the tests,” he said.

According to protocols, there’s a need for 1,500-1,600 beds for every 10,000 COVID-19 cases, Modi said, adding that India has arranged at least 100,000 hospital beds for the same number of cases.

“There are at least 600 hospitals that are working dedicatedly to treat COVID-19 cases. We are constantly upgrading the existing facilities to add more. I urge everyone to contribute in this effort,” Modi said.

He said authorities moved swiftly to take precautionary steps, highlighting how the country launched screening at airports in mid-January when India was yet to report any COVID-19 case.

“…Before it reached 100 [cases], we started 14-day isolation for those coming from abroad. All public places, malls, gyms, etc were closed down. When the cases reached 550, then we announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. We did not wait for the problem to worsen, but took early steps to nip it in the bud,” he said.

Prime Minister advocated using masks and suggested following the AYUSH ministry’s guidelines to boost immunity. He also appealed to young scientists to come forward to help the country fight the pandemic,

“India has limited resources today. I have a special request for India’s young scientists: come forward and take a lead in creating a vaccine for coronavirus --- for the welfare of the world, for the welfare of the human race,” he said.

Concluding his speech, Modi appealed to citizens to take care of the elderly, especially those with existing health conditions. “…they need to be saved from any kind of risk that can lead to them contracting the infection,” Modi said.

India has reported 10,363 cases of the virus infection and 339 deaths so far, according to the Union health ministry.