ICMR’s study finds COVID-19 may peak in India in mid-November; 10 more Beijing areas under lockdown after China detects new coronavirus cluster

ICMR’s study finds COVID-19 may peak in India in mid-November; 10 more Beijing areas under lockdown after China detects new coronavirus cluster

The peak stage of the coronavirus in India has been delayed by the lockdown along with enhanced public health measures and it may now be witnessed around mid-November during which there could be a lack of isolation and ICU beds, and ventilators, according to a new study.

The study conducted by researchers from an Operations Research Group constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said the lockdown, imposed on March 25, shifted the peak of the pandemic by about 34 to 76 days and helped reduce the number of infections by 69 to 97 per cent thereby allowing time for the healthcare system to shore up resources and infrastructure.

In the scenario of intensified public health measures with 60 per cent effectiveness after the nationwide lockdown, the demand can be met until the first week of November. After that, isolation beds could be inadequate for 5.4 months, ICU beds for 4.6 and ventilators for 3.9 months, projections by the health researchers showed.

However, this shortfall is about 83 per cent less than what it could have been without the lockdown and public health measures.

India registered a record spike of 11,929 cases pushing the country’s COVID-19 caseload to 3,20,922 on Sunday while the death count surged to 9,195 with an increase of 311 fatalities, according to data from the Union Health Ministry.

The country witnessed 10,000 cases for the third day in a row and is the fourth worst-hit nation by the virus.

Meanwhile, Beijing raced on Monday to control a fresh coronavirus outbreak, with 75 new cases linked to a single wholesale food market in the capital city where officials have closed neighbourhoods and launched a massive test and trace programme.

The outbreak in China — where the Covid-19 first surfaced last year — had largely been brought under control until a fresh batch of cases was discovered in the capital last week.

Health officials reported 49 new coronavirus cases nationwide on Monday, including 36 more in the capital city where a cluster linked to the Xinfadi market has fuelled fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections.

In a media briefing, authorities informed that cases had also been detected at the Yuquandong wholesale market in Beijing’s northwestern Haidian district.

As a result, that market had been shut and nearby schools would be closed, while people living in 10 housing estates around it would be barred from leaving their homes, authorities announced.

It was not immediately clear how many households were under the new shutdowns, but the orders will affect thousands of people.

Beijing has begun mass testing workers from the Xinfadi food market, besides those who live nearby and anyone who visited it in recent weeks.

Officials are also increasing efforts to track people who have visited the Xinfadi market, with businesses and neighbourhood communities messaging staff and residents to ask about their recent movements.

The outbreak has once again put the spotlight on the safety of Beijing’s food chain.

As many as 177 people are now ill with the virus in China — two severely — which is the highest since early May.