South Asia remains an outlier in infections-THE HINDU-19-04-2020
“All governments in South Asia have responded rapidly to the crisis, but their task is daunting. Governments have imposed social-distancing measures, introduced relief packages to secure access to food, and provided for delays in payments on taxes, rent, utilities and debt service,” said a “South Asia Economic Focus” study, published by the World Bank this week. India has the largest number of cases in the region at 14,651 with Pakistan next at 7,481 while Bhutan has the lowest number with just five of cases in the subcontinent. The numbers are particularly low when one considers that South Asia accounts for a fifth of the world’s population, living in dense conditions on 3% of the world’s land mass.
Yet a study tweeted by the NITI Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant pointed to the fact that the number of positive cases arising from the tests are also much lower in India than these countries. showed 19.8% positive cases, France showed 41.8% and Italy showed 15.1% positive cases, according to the NITI Aayog study, India showed about 4.7%. , although experts point out that as the number of tests increase, the positive percentage might also increase. daily cases were 25 times India’s cases.
“Despite increased testing, our percentage of positive cases is still low compared to others. India’s strong measures on travel restrictions, social distancing, Janata curfew & lockdown have paid dividends,” Mr. Next week, the Indian Council of Medical Research plans to begin a separate study on the efficacy of the “BCG” vaccine, which one study has linked to higher COVID-19 immunity across the world, although the WHO has not validated the findings. Some experts have also pointed to the fact that South Asia accounts for 40% of the world’s cases of tuberculosis, which may impart some amount of immunity to its inhabitants as well. A more comprehensive view will emerge if SAARC countries, which have at present joined forces towards countering the coronavirus crisis and contributed to a special SAARC-COVID-19 fund, also commission separate studies on the impact of the virus, specific to the region.