The overall number of cases and deaths per million population due to COVID-19 in the country is low compared to similarly affected countries, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey told Rajya Sabha on Sunday.
Noting that there are no established pharmaceutical interventions that can break the chain of transmission, Choubey said non-pharmaceutical interventions such as hand and respiratory hygiene, wearing of mask/face cover, physical distancing measures, preventing large gatherings, etc are the only tools to suppress and break the chain of transmission.
This has to be in turn supported by heightened community awareness and behavioral change communication.
He was responding to a question on the reasons for spread of COVID-19 at an increased rate despite lower numbers at the initial stage in India as compared to other countries.
"COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease. Many of the epidemiological parameters such as agent-host interaction, socio-cultural and environmental factors, modes of transmission, susceptibility of individuals, immune response are still under research," Choubey said in a written reply.
The Government of India since January, has followed a pre-emptive, graded and proactive approach for managing COVID-19, the minister said.
States have been supported in terms of logistics, funding and technical guidance right from the beginning.
To blunt the progression of cases in the country, the government had taken series of steps under Disaster Management Act, 2005 including lockdown, Choubey highlighted.
"This in effect reduced the growth rate of cases, increased community awareness, and the period was utilized to upgrade health infrastructure and health staff capacities which has supported the country in terms of managing the disease.
"In effect, the overall number of cases and deaths per million population due to COVID-19 in the country is low compared to similarly affected countries," Choubey said.