Large proportion of Indian population susceptible to COVID-19; Present condition may prolong for months, warns ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said that a large proportion of India’s population is susceptible to the Coronavirus pandemic. Reiterating that the country has not reached community transmission phase, Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR, said that the present condition may prolong for months.

While addressing the media persons, Bhargava said that 0.73 per cent of the population in 83 districts where sero-survey was conducted had evidence of past exposure to coronavirus infection, however, the country is not in a community transmission phase. He emphasised on continuing with the strategy of tracing, testing, tracking and containment measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, saying that ‘we shouldn’t give up our guard’.

The ICMR asserted that according to sero-survey reports, containment measures were successful in keeping COVID-19 spread in check.

India’s mortality per lakh population is 0.59, which is amongst the lowest in the world, ICMR asserted. The ICMR top official further said that India’s COVID-19 cases per lakh population (20.77) is amongst the lowest in the world, whereas the global average is 91.67.

The ICMR conducted a sero-survey across the country to estimate the prevalence of community transmission of the infection among the population. People from over 80 districts were tested for Covid-19 to check whether they had developed anti-bodies against the deadly viral disease even though they remained asymptomatic.

Part II of sero-survey to estimate the fraction of the population infected with COVID-19 in containment zones of hotspot cities is still underway, the ICMR informed.