India risking surge of COVID19 cases as strict lockdown measures are loosened, says GlobalData

Based on the current trajectory of COVID19 daily confirmed cases, India will be the fourth most heavily affected country in the world behind the US, Brazil and Russia in the next two weeks. It will take at least six additional weeks of continued strict social distancing efforts to reduce the new positive cases to fewer than 1,000 per day, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData, comments: “Based on the historical data for new cases of COVID19, India appears nowhere near the peak, as more than 50% of all confirmed cases were reported in the last two weeks.”

Bhandari continues: “Increased testing is one of the possible explanations for the higher number of daily confirmed cases in recent days. It is also believed that actual numbers of undiagnosed cases are much higher, given India’s low testing rate compared with the size of its population.”

The peak and recovery phase scenario for the figure is based on the assumption that strict social distancing measures will continue to be a government policy. As India has started to reopen the economy amid the rapidly rising cases, there is a major risk that COVID19 cases will not decline in the near future.

Therefore, India must be careful with the timing of lifting the lockdown; otherwise the rate of COVID19 cases could very easily see an exponential rise and engulf the country’s healthcare system.

Bhandari concludes: “Moving forward, India must remain vigilant, develop an effective test and contact-tracing policy, and be prepared to shut down geographical areas where outbreak hotspots occur.”

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