A government-appointed committee of experts have said that India passed the COVID peak in September and that a timely lockdown played a significant role in flattening the curve.

A seven-member expert panel commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology, says India passed its COVID-19 peak in September. If current trends continue, there will be “minimal cases” by February, the commission added on the future course of the pandemic.

The number of active cases which touched 10.17 lakh in mid-September, have been seeing a steady decline since then. The committee also added that the numbers would not surpass the figure even if faced by festivals or cold weather, if we continued to follow safety precautions.

According to the study, India’s COVID burden is expected to be capped at 106 lakh symptomatic infections by early next year, with less than 50,000 active cases from December. There are 74 lakh confirmed cases as of Sunday, of which about 7,80,000 are active infections.

This, however, is premised on no spikes triggered by festivals or mutations in the virus aiding its spread in winter.

Scientists associated with the study said there would be no gains from lockdowns or from measures harsher than what are in place today. A complete shutdown should be considered only at sub district levels if there’s a spike that threatens local healthcare capacity, they said.

The modelling study called the “COVID-19 India National Supermodel” is the result of analysis by an expert committee consisting of mathematicians and epidemiologists. However, scientists have publicly warned they were projections meant to guide policy and should not be taken literally.

The ICMR, in its latest sero-survey in August, had estimated that 7% of the adult population had been exposed to the virus.

To which, the modelling committee said this was an under-estimate. According to them nearly 30 percent of the country had been exposed to the virus as of Sunday, they reckon.

The committee which was set up by the ministry of science and technology concludes that the total number of persons infected would not exceed the 1 crore 6 lakh mark, by February.

Sitharaman to WB

Indian Finance Minister at the 102nd meeting of the World Bank Development Committee Plenary said the government has taken a host of initiatives, including a stimulus package totalling 10 percent of the country’s GDP and major reforms in the labour sector, to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Participating in Plenary, Sitharaman said the COVID-19 pandemic, which started before its last meeting in April, continues to impact the developing and developed countries. The hard fought gains in reducing the level of poverty, achieved over a number of years, are at great risk of being lost, she added.

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