NEW DELHI: Hospital admissions of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and influenza like illnesses (ILI) cases under governments health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat have shown a flat graph in the last three months since January when India reported its first confirmed case of Covid-19, providing evidence that the wider community transmission is yet to begin in India despite hotspots and clusters.
Ayushman Bharat data is one of several indicators such as sale of drugs for flu-type illnesses and reporting of such cases in OPDs, clinics and hospitals that the government is closely monitoring to see if there is a spike that suggests a wider Covid-19 transmission that has escaped notice. In a step up of testing, ILI cases are being scanned for Covid-19, while the Ayushman numbers are also providing valuable information.
Data from National Health Authority (NHA) shows the number of SARI & ILI admissions in both public and private hospitals together increased by just 8.6% between January and February and thereafter declined in March by 5.4% and 12.9%, as compared to the previous two months.
“The fact that there is no significant surge in SARI and ILI hospitalisation indicates that there is no massive undercurrent of an outbreak. It rather confirms that on a national scale Covid-19 outbreak is limited and not out of control,” said NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul.
“The data doesnt show any spurt and is supportive of the hypothesis that there is no community transmission,” says Indu Bhushan, chief executive of NHA.
More on Covid-19
While SARI and ILI cases are a key indicator to determine whether there is community transmission of Covid-19 in India, the flat curve and in fact a drop in such admissions in March could be suggestive that there is only limited local transmission in some areas with higher intensity in the country, senior government officials say.
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