India has reported a relatively small number of coronavirus cases because it acted quickly, World Health Organization’s special COVID-19 envoy, Dr David Nabarro, told NDTV. He said the pandemic will hit its peak in the country in July-end before being contained.
“When the lockdown lifts, there will be more cases. But people should not be scared. In coming months, there will be an increase in (the number of) cases. But there will be stability in India…” he said.
“There will be sporadic outbreaks over time immediately after the lockdown. Thereon, the outbreaks will be contained. I agree with the timing. Around July-end, there will be a flat peak but it will get better,” he added.
Referring to the nationwide lockdown, Mr Nabarro said India, because of its quick action, has managed to limit the pandemic to specific areas.
“The lockdown has managed to keep the virus reasonably well located in some specific places. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu. But it is very much located in some of the urban areas,” he said.
“Because India acted quickly, you have got the situation under control in most settings. It is difficult to control it in a dense set-up. You are certainly slowing down the numbers. Your doubling rate is 11 days,” he adds.
The number of coronavirus cases in India is big, but not very large if the country’s population is taken into account, he said. “It is difficult to contain the virus. The number of cases in India is large. But compared to the population of India, it is not a very large number”.
United States President Donald Trump’s allegation against WHO that it favours China will not deter the body from doing its job, he assured.
“Whether there is a president who doesn’t like what we do, we will continue doing the work. People are frustrated by the pandemic. But we want to work to push the virus back. We won’t give up even if presidents and PMs are not happy.”
Mr Nabarro said the mortality rate in the old-age group is higher, and since India has a different age structure, total deaths in the country have been comparatively less.
“It does seem that mortality rate is higher in countries with large population of old people. In hot climates, virus doesn’t spread very quickly. In India it is much lower than other countries.”
India has reported over 56,000 coronavirus cases and more than 1,850 deaths.