In numbers: The COVID-19 pandemic

Data | India's coronavirus testing rates are among the lowest in the world

Passengers undergo a thermal screening test in the wake of novel coronavirus scare at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, Monday, March 9, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

While most of China’s neighbours have been able to contain the spread of COVID-19, countries far from it are seeing an exponential surge in cases. Early testing and wider coverage distinguish such Asian countries from Western countries. However, India is dangerously placed as it has among the lowest testing rates.

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

The disease spread varied among continents

The graph shows the number of COVID-19 cases since the 100th case in each country. Many Asian nations (indicated by blue lines) have contained the spread to a large extent, whereas Europe (yellow lines), the Americas (red lines) and West Asia (green lines) are seeing an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases

Varying spread

image/svg+xml 10,000 5,000 2,000 1,000 500 200 100 2 6 10 14 18 22 Iran Italy France Germany U.S. Spain U.K. Belgium Japan Singapore Hong Kong S. Korea After an initial surge, S. Korea managed to Cases Days since 100th case Denmark Malaysia 'flatten the curve'

More tests meant better results

The graph plots the number of virus tests per million population as of March 9 against the number of COVID-19 cases as of March 13 for nations that have provided this data.

Also read: Europe now ‘epicentre’ of COVID-19 pandemic: WHO

Tests done vs cases recorded

image/svg+xml Tests per million people (Mar. 9) Cases 1101001,000 Tests per million (As on March 9) 1 10 100 1,000 10,000 1 10 100 1000 Italy U.K. Bahrain U.S. France Malaysia Vietnam Turkey Hong Kong S. Korea 10,000 1,000 100 10 1 India has conducted the least no. of tests per mn population Taiwan, though very close to China, has < 100 cases

Higher test rates meant better results

The graph shows virus tests per million population as of February 4 (indicated by purple circle) and March 9 (pink circle). As of February 4, the testing rates of all nations were similar, but since then, some nations have scaled up the rate of testing by a huge margin and contained the spread of COVID-19.

Also read: South Korea reports 76 new coronavirus cases; airport checks widened

Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan scaled up their test rates and contained the spread, whereas the U.S. and U.K. have not done so and have seen an exponential rise in cases. India too has not scaled up the rate of testing.

Test rates

image/svg+xml Tests per million people 1500 South Korea Hong Kong UK USA India 500 2500 4500 Taiwan India U.S. U.K. Hong Kong South Korea 4,098 648 49 2,134 55 12

Quick response helped contain spread

The graph shows the date on which testing/screening started. While Taiwan and S. Korea initiated this process early, the rest took their time to get going.

Early birds

image/svg+xml Date when testing/screening was started Jan.3 Jan.8 Jan.13 Jan.18 Jan.23 South Korea Taiwan India Italy U.S. U.K.

Last word

In India, though the testing rates are abysmal, as of Sunday no spike in disease spread has been reported. But the exponential rise of cases in Western nations, which have similarly low rates of testing, should set the alarm bells ringing.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 3:27:06 AM |

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