India cannot control the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic unless the governmental authorities stay in mission mode and get better at the ‘test, trace and isolate’ strategy, as I wrote in my column a couple of weeks ago. The first and most important part of the epidemic control strategy is testing, for only when you test lots of people and get the results quickly will you be able to trace their contacts and isolate them all.
Covid-19 cases across India are rising because the country is just not testing enough people, and test reports are taking too long to come out. And the main reason why India is falling far short of its capacity to test is that governments have failed to engage private laboratories and healthcare facilities in a reasonable manner. How else can you explain the fact that while there are abundant numbers of test kits available in the country, India ranks among the lowest in terms of tests per capita? Philippines, Malaysia, Rwanda and Cuba test more people per day relative to population than India does.