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A year after outbreak, India poised to win Covid war

India reported its lowest active number of novel coronavirus cases in seven months

India reported its lowest active number of novel coronavirus cases in seven months on Saturday marking the success of its war against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic exactly a year after the virus was first reported in the country.

The virus first case of the dreaded disease was detected when a student from Kerala tested positive for Covid-19 on Jan 30 last year after returning to India from Wuhan in China, from where the virus juped species to infect humankind.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a stringent nationwide lockdown on the 1.3 billion population in late March to contain the pandemic which had claimed thousands of lives in Europe and some other countries as well.

The lockdown, which was among the most stringent in the world, saw a ban on domestic and international travel with all commercial establishments and educational institutions being shut down to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Although this resulted in large scale disruption in economic activities with the country’s GDP set to contract by 7.5% in the current financial year, it also saved thousands of lives in a densely populated country. India has with a 1.3 billion population recorded one of the lowest fatality rates in the world during the pandemic.

The government started easing the lockdown in June because of the large scale loss of jobs. The number of cases which was low until April start rising from May onwards and soared to a peak of around 100,000 daily cases by mid-September.

The spread of the disease has slowed sharply since September and on Saturday 13,083 new cases were reported of which 70% are from Kerala and Maharashtra alone. This is one of the lowest figures on record and down from more than 20,000 each day at the beginning of the month, health ministry figures showed.

India has around 170,000 active COVID-19 patients, the lowest since June 2020. It has reported 10.7 million infections and 154,147 deaths. The country has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States where 2.21 million have died due to the disease.

India started its immunisation programme on Jan. 16, with healthcare workers and a target of reaching 300 million people by July-August.

The campaign has gathered momentum around 3.5 million healthcare workers in the first two weeks have already been given shots to fight the virus.

With the Covid-19 case count in India recording a steady fall over the last four months, the Government has further eased some of the restrictions that were put in place to fight the pandemic.

The Centre has allowed the states to raise the number of people that can be permitted at social and religious gatherings and lifted the 50% occupancy limit for cinema halls. Swimming pools can also be allowed to open in the country.