The outbreak of the novel coronavirus infection and deaths due to it have remained confined to limited areas, most of which are urban, due to the implementation of the lockdown, the government said on Friday. Also, the number of COVID-19 cases would have risen exponentially had the lockdown not been imposed, it said, adding that the doubling time of cases now stands at 13.3 days as against 3.4 days before the lockdown.
"Despite being such a large nation, due to lockdown, the outbreak of the infection has remained confined to limited areas," chairman of Empowered Group One and Niti Aayog member V K Paul said at a briefing.
Around 80 per cent of the active cases reported till Thursday are in just five states -- Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh -- and over 90 per cent are in ten states, he elaborated.
Also, over 60 per cent of the cases are in just five cities -- Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Thane -- and over 70 per cent are in 10 cities, he added.
As far as fatalities are concerned, Paul said, over 80 per cent of them are in five states -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi -- and around 95 per cent are in ten states.
"You can say this is a disease of the urban districts and nearly 60 per cent of the deaths were reported in five cities -- Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Pune, Delhi and Kolkata -- and 70 per cent of the deaths are in ten cities," he said.
"The confinement of COVID-19 to certain areas has been due to the actions taken during lockdown. It enabled us to be more prepared for the future," he added, highlighting how the the health infrastructure was ramped up in less than two months.
Now, there are 1,093 dedicated COVID facilities and around 1,85,306 beds have been prepared for treatment of such patients across the country.
Also, 2,403 dedicated COVID-19 health centres with oxygen facilities with a capacity of 1,38,652 isolation beds have been readied.
So around 3,24,000 beds have been prepared in hospitals by state governments and district administrations across the country.
Additionally, 6.5 lakh beds are available in COVID care centres to keep mild cases.
Besides, the human resources have been increased and 56 lakh trainings have been conducted for COVID warriors and the capacity of testing has been increased to about 1 lakh per day now.
"Also, 30 lakh PPEs have been given to states, 109 domestic manufacturers enlisted with 3 lakh per day domestic PPE manufacturing capacity," Paul said.
Also, on the digital front, Aarogya Setu is an unequalled weapon to fight the disease and the mobile application now has more than 10 crore users, he said.
Use of telemedicine has become more popular, guidelines have been framed promptly and it is being used in a timely manner, he added.
"The clinical experience gained during COVID-19 has given us confidence in patient management and in navigating the road ahead. Due to lockdown, we have been able to control infection, keep mortality low and prepare better," Paul said.
The time the nation got for preparedness due to lockdown has been utilised very well, he said, adding, "We can now say with confidence that we will be able to face the challenge and surmount it."
"This is not just a battle but has turned into a 'Jan Andolan'. Awareness is not enough, change in behaviour is required. We have to be very cautious. If we relax, virus will spread," he cautioned.
Paul urged people to seek treatment in time and not hide their symptoms. He also asked the public not to stigmatise the diseased.
Addressing the press briefing, joint secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal said the COVID-19 mortality rate has dropped from 3.13 per cent on May 19 to 3.02 per cent as the focus was on containment measures and clinical management of cases.