Coronavirus: 80 per cent of cases either asymptomatic or show mild symptoms, says health ministry

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Updated: Apr 20, 2020 10:35 PM

Head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar said 80 out of 100 infected people do not show any symptoms.

All hospitalised patients with severe acute respiratory illness, shortness of breath, fever and cough are being tested for COVID-19 infection.

The Union health ministry on Monday said 80 per cent of the COVID-19 patients are either asymptomatic or show mild symptoms and it is a major area of concern. The asymptomatic patients may pass on the infection to other people, it said, stressing on maintaining social distancing and infection prevention and control practices in hospital set ups.

“On the basis of worldwide analysis, 80 per cent of the COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms. Around 15 per cent patients turn into severe cases and 5 per cent may become critical,” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry, said at a daily press briefing. As of now, there is no plan to further widen the testing criteria, he said.

Head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar said 80 out of 100 infected people do not show any symptoms. As part its revised strategy to fight the spread of COVID-19, the government has started testing people with fever, cough and sore throat in hotspots or cluster areas and evacuees centres.

Also, all hospitalised patients with severe acute respiratory illness, shortness of breath, fever and cough are being tested for COVID-19 infection. Direct and high-risk contacts of confirmed cases are also being tested once between day five and 14 of coming in his/her contact.

Besides, all asymptomatic individuals who undertook international travel and developed symptoms, all symptomatic contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases and all symptomatic health care workers were being tested for the infection as per the guidelines.

The apex body for biomedical research had recently revised its strategy to contain the spread of the virus more effectively and provide reliable diagnosis to all individuals meeting the inclusion criteria of COVID-19 testing.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 559 and the number of cases climbed to 17, 656 in the country on Monday, according to the Union health ministry. However, a PTI tally of the figures reported by various states as on Monday  showed 17,744 cases and 584 deaths in the country.

There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the number of deaths announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.

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