What Led India To Face World's Worst Coronavirus Outbreak?
India has seen an alarming case of coronavirus outbreak since early March. The reported new infection on April 18 alone was 273,810. Sunday saw another new record when the country racked up 3,92,488 new cases in just 24 hours, up from six percent than the latest daily spike.
But was India warned beforehand about this worst outbreak? What has caused the resurgence of the virus in India? More details below!
Scientist 'Warned' Indian Government But They 'Ignored' The Warning
An exclusive report from Reuters suggests that Indian governments were indeed notified of the possible resurgence of the virus. A "forum of scientific advisers" had informed the officials about the new variant in early March but despite receiving the crucial information, scientists were shocked to see the federal government disregard for the contagious variant and instead began loosening lockdown restrictions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on to hold political rallies and people gathered for religious festivals without following protective measures. Moreover, ten of thousands of farmers camped on highways on the outskirts of New Delhi, now a hotspot of the outbreak, to protest Modi’s agricultural policy changes.
The coronavirus caseload in India has reached over 10 million, with the total death toll now more than 215,000. Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium, or INSACOG, had issued the warning about the B.1.617 variant of coronavirus to top officials, which would have then reported to the prime minister, as per one of the scientists, the director of a research center in northern India.
It is still not known if the findings were actually provided to Modi. The INSACOG was formed as a forum of scientific advisers in late December in order to detect the genomic variants of the coronavirus, which is done in 10 national laboratories. The researchers first detected the B.1.617 variant in February and shared the findings with the National Centre for Disease Control before March 10.
It was then shared with the Indian health ministry. The ministry made the findings public on March 24, nearly two weeks after receiving the draft from the INSACOG, excluding the "high concern" word in the statement. The draft prepared by INSACOG mentioned that the two significant mutations called E484Q and L452R were of “high concern" and had been traced in 15% to 20% of samples from Maharashtra.