Social distancing only way to flatten upward COVID-19 curve: ICMR


New Delhi: Strictly-implemented social distancing measures will reduce the overall expected number of cases of the novel coronavirus pandemic by 62 per cent and the peak number of cases by 89 per cent, according to the country’s apex health research body, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

Based on the initial understanding of the spread of the deadly COVID-19, the mathematical modelling done by the ICMR suggested that entry screening of travellers with symptoms of suspected coronavirus could delay the introduction of the virus into the community by one-three weeks.

“Strictly-implemented social distancing measures, such as home quarantine of symptomatics and suspected cases, will reduce the overall expected number of cases by 62 per cent and the peak number of cases by 89 per cent, thus flattening the curve and providing more opportunities for interventions,” the ICMR said.

These model projections are subject to substantial uncertainty and can be further refined as more needs to be understood about the rate at which the infection transmits among susceptible individuals, the research body said.

In a separate development ICMR director general Balram Bhargava recommended the use of hydroxy-chloroquine for healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases and the asymptomatic household contacts of lab-confirmed cases as a preventive treatment measure.

The protocol recommended by the National Task Force has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for restricted use in emergency situations.

Commenting on the lockdown initiated by several states to contain the coronavirus infection, a health ministry official said the states have been told to order superintendents of police and district magistrates to enforce the lockdown strictly.

“Partial lockdown defeats the purpose of breaking the chain of transmission of novel coronavirus,” the official said.




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