On March 11, 2020, there were more than 1,18,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people had lost their lives. A year down, the numbers had surged nearly 1,000-fold.
The pandemic declaration preceded two weeks of the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China increasing 13-fold, and the number of affected countries tripling. Last March 11, there were more than 1,18,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people had lost their lives, according to the WHO. A year down, the numbers had surged nearly 1,000-fold. There are about 118 million confirmed coronavirus cases as on Thursday and nearly 2.6 million deaths due to the disease.
In India, the number of cases have so far touched 11.2 million, with 1,58,227 deaths confirmed by the government so far. Notwithstanding a decline in daily cases since September, February has since seen an uptick with fresh daily infections crossing 22,000, according to data on Thursday–the first time it’s done so this year.
When the WHO declared a pandemic, India had evacuated 948 passengers from COVID-19 affected countries, 900 of whom were Indian citizens and 48 belonging to different nationalities, including the Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, the U.S., Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru.
Air India operated two special flights for the evacuation efforts that brought back 654 passengers, including 647 Indian citizens from Wuhan, China. They were quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s Chhawla camp and at an Army facility in Manesar, Haryana.
On March 10, the Centre issued an advisory in which passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany were expected to undergo self-imposed quarantine for 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers should facilitate work-from-home for such employees during this period.
By that date, the government had had six Group of Ministers’ meetings and it was decided to cancel all visas except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, until April 15, 2020.
Incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15, 2020 were required to be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. As of that day, India reported 60 positive cases, with no deaths confirmed, though a 76-year old from Kalaburgi, Karnataka, was suspected to have died of the infection.
Expansion of tests
India had only the National Institute of Virology as a testing centre. The testings subsequently expanded and the country has been able to do nearly 224 million tests. These include the RT PCR test, the rapid antigen test and the antibody tests.
More than 25.6 million vaccine doses have been administered through 4,78,168 sessions, as of Thursday in the country. These include 71,97,100 healthcare workers (HCWs) who’ve got at least 1st dose, 40,13,249 HCWs (2nd dose), 70,54,659 Front Line Workers (FLWs) (1st dose) and 6,37,281 FLWs (2nd dose), 9,67,058 beneficiaries aged more than 45 years with specific comorbidities (1st dose) and 58,15,664 beneficiaries aged more than 60.