Increasing Covid cases in India not a testing phenomenon: WHO

GENEVA, June 23: India, along with some other countries, has increased testing for Covid-19 but the increase in the number of cases is “not a testing phenomenon”, said the World Health Organization.
“Certainly countries like India are testing more. But we do not believe this is a testing phenomenon,” said Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergency Programme, during regular Covid-19 press briefing here on Monday, in reply to a question on the increasing number of cases globally.

He said that the numbers are increasing because the epidemic is developing in a number of populous countries at the same time and across the whole world. “From that perspective, a large number of countries are contributing to that overall increase. Some of that increase may be attributed to increased testing. Countries are testing more.Hospital admissions are also rising in a number of countries, deaths are also rising. They are not due to increased testing per se,” he added.

A record 183,000 new cases were reported to WHO on Sunday taking the tally of Covid-19 cases past 8.8 million and more than 465,000 people have lost their lives, noted WHO DG, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in his opening remarks. “Some countries are continuing to see a rapid increase in cases and deaths. Some countries that have successfully suppressed transmission are now seeing an upswing in cases as they reopen their societies and economies,” he said.

Dr Ryan underlined that “the virus is now very well established” at the global level and it is “now peaking or moving towards the peak” in a large number of countries. Because the epidemic is now peaking or moving towards the peak in a large number of countries at the same time you are seeing that impact on the number of cases, he said.

WHO expert said that the Americas (South and North) and South Asia are contributing very much to the increase in numbers. Countries in the Middle East and Africa are also contributing to the overall increase. “Situation is definitely accelerating in a number of countries with a larger population and that is most certainly contributing to this overall increase in number,” he added.