Home / Industry / Media /  Cinemas reopen in Unlock 5 as India bends the pandemic curve

The epidemic curve in India appears to be on a decline with falling average daily cases, improving doubling time, low fatalities and high recoveries. The trend sets in at a time the government has eased more restrictions, including on public gatherings and opening of theatres, on Thursday.

An analysis of government data shows the weekly average of daily new cases fell from 92,830 in the second week of September to 70,114 in the second week of October while doubling time of the infection increased from 25.5 days in August to 72.8 days.

“This indicates a substantial fall in daily new cases and the consequent increase in time taken to double the total cases. India has come a long way from registering a doubling rate of 25.5 days in mid-August to now registering a doubling rate of nearly 73 days," the Union health ministry said.

Until a month ago, India had almost touched 100,000 new covid cases a day, which have gradually reduced in October.

On Thursday, the total number of cases breached the 7.3 million mark with 111,820 fatalities.

At least 67,708 new cases and 680 deaths were reported from across the country in the past 24 hours. Active cases, however, comprise just 11% of the total count at 812,390, maintaining below 90,000 levels for a week, while daily deaths have sustained below the 1,000 mark for the past 12 days, the government said.

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Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint

Growing awareness about covid-19-appropriate behaviour has aided in curbing the spread of the infection, besides timely treatment, the government said. “Now, we are certainly seeing a downward trend in the total number of new cases from about 100,000 per day to 70,000 per day, and even the fatalities have come down from close to a 1,000 per day to about 700 a day," said H. Sudarshan Ballal, head of states’ covid expert panel of the central government.

However, public health experts said the Centre’s decision to open up the economy further is likely to make it more challenging to control the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday directed the health ministry to scale up serological surveys and testing for covid. After convening a review meeting on distribution and delivery of vaccines for mass immunization, including procurement and technologies for bulk-stockpiling, Modi said: “The country is resolved to provide cost-effective, easily available and scalable solutions for testing, vaccine and medication, not only for India but for the entire world."

The meeting was attended by Union health minister Harsh Vardhan; member (health), NITI Aayog V.K. Paul; principal scientific adviser K. Vijayraghavan; senior scientists; and other officials.

“Possibly, the measures by the government are showing results now. Also, probably there is more awareness among the public about the preventive measures to prevent the spread," he said.

The ministry of home affairs has withdrawn the cap of 100 people for social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious and political functions and other congregations from Friday. Entertainment parks, schools, cinemas, multiplexes, and business to business (B2B) exhibitions will also be allowed to open.

The government has, however, been warning that with winters and coming festivals, the spread of the virus can accelerate again and warned the public to take more precautions.

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