“Vaccines do not have any role in current ongoing COVID-19 pandemic control in India. Experience from other countries indicates that increased testing does not prevent the deaths from COVID-19, which should be the primary goal.” are among the many recommendations the Health experts issued in a statement written to Modi.
Almost 7 months have gone by since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. Cases have been only skyrocketing and not reducing in India, which is expected to overtake Brazil in a few days to become the second most affected nation in the World. The Joint Task Force of eminent public health experts on Monday, August 31st wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the COVID-19 situation.
“Vaccines do not have any role in current ongoing coronavirus pandemic control in India. It must be assumed that an effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus would not be available in the near future”. They said. It was added that any false hopes about the vaccine arriving soon must be discouraged to the masses.
The Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), the Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM), and the Indian Association of Epidemiologists (IAE) issued a joint statement.
Health Experts recommended that at the “current community transmission phase”, Modi’s focus should solely on changing COVID-19’s current response to preventing deaths rather than ramping up testing.
“Universal scaling up of testing at the current community transmission stage of the pandemic may not be an optimal control strategy and will divert attention and resources from control measures. Experience from other countries … indicates that increased testing does not prevent the deaths from COVID-19, which should be the primary goal.” The statement read,
Other recommendations from the Joint Task Force;
The statement was released on 25th August, Friday. The joint task force was nominated in April to advise the governments on the containment of the pandemic virus.
Along with “differential/targeted testing of high-risk individuals and discontinuing universal testing at this stage”, the statement also advised structured restoration of normal life Schools and other educational institutions should be opened gradually. The statement also declared that “lockdown as a strategy for control should be discontinued.”
Albeit the Health Ministry or the ICMR have never admitted to community transmission in the nation, the Joint Task Force says otherwise. The statement clearly stated that “cluster restrictions should be considered only in areas with no community transmission.” (Source: ThePrint)
The statement also advised that public healthcare infrastructure should be increased to at least 5 per cent of the GDP. India has one of the poorest Health Infrastructure.
“The focus of higher expenditure should be on primary health care and human resource and infrastructure strengthening rather than opening/strengthening tertiary care centres. There is a need to expedite the establishment of a dedicated, efficient, and adequately resourced public health cadre as Indian Health Service (IHS) in the centre and across states.” it read. (Source: IndiaToday)