India took timely action against the Covid-19 pandemic and gave a graded response to the evolving situation of the virus spread, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan noted during the virtual meeting with regional directors of WHO South-East Asia on Thursday.
“India has had a graded response to Covid-19 from the start and issued advisories and restrictions even before the first case was reported in January,” the health minister said.
Vardhan informed the WHO team about various measures that the government took to battle the Covid-19 pandemic and challenges that lie ahead.
He said that India started screening passengers at country’s four main airports from January 18. “All passengers were being screened at various airports from March 6 while incoming flights were suspended by 22nd March,” he added.
“The world’s biggest, severest lockdown was put in place on 25th March,” Dr Vardhan stated.
The minister noted that India has a high population density and less support in terms of GDP expenditure on healthcare. “Yet we have been able to keep the number of deaths due to Covid-19 well below as compared to other countries,” he stated.
India was able to create 10,000 beds for Covid-19 patients from just 1,000 previously in the matter of 10-20 days with the help of the DRDO, he said.
“We are ensuring mental well being of the populace amid pandemic,” Dr Vardhan added.
He said that the lockdown is being lifted in a graded manner starting June 1, while ensuring social distancing and restrictions on mass gatherings.