A health worker transfers sample of a person from a swab test for Covid-19 in New Delhi.(AP)
A health worker transfers sample of a person from a swab test for Covid-19 in New Delhi.(AP)

No community transmission in India, says govt amid spike in Covid-19 cases

The top medical body official underlined that lockdown measures were “successful” in preventing the rapid spread of the disease.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent | Edited by Ashutosh Tripathi
UPDATED ON JUN 11, 2020 05:23 PM IST

There is no community transmission of the coronavirus pandemic in India, the government said on Thursday amid intense speculation over the past week on the spike in cases, especially in Mumbai and Delhi.

“India is such a large country and prevalence is very low. India is not in community transmission,” said Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The top medical body official underlined that lockdown measures were “successful” in preventing the rapid spread of the disease.

“We found that about 0.73% of the population in these 15 districts showed a prevalence of past exposure to infection. It means that lockdown measures were successful in keeping it low and preventing rapid spread,” added Bhargava.

Community transmission means that the disease is in its third stage and the source of its origin is not known. It is now present in the community and can infect people with no history - either of travel to or contact with infected people and areas. At this point, everyone is susceptible to catching it.

In the first stage, the disease takes the form of a pandemic. The second stage is when the virus starts being transmitted locally. The third stage is that of community transmission.

In Tamil Nadu, chief minister K Panaliswami said his government has been transparent in reporting Covid-19 deaths and none can hide information, rejecting claims of under-reporting of fatalities. He also asserted there was no community transmission of coronavirus in the state, which has reported 1,500 plus fresh cases for four successive days till Wednesday with the tally crossing the 36,000 mark.

On Wednesday, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain reiterated that there was transmission in the community in Delhi, but it was up to the central government to declare “community transmission”. The Delhi minister, after a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Authority a day ago, had said that his government was unable to establish the source of infection in 50% of the cases of coronavirus disease in the city.

The Delhi government also blamed the Centre for using the city’s airports to bring in people from other countries. “Delhi and Mumbai are the two cities where people were brought in from other nations via flights, and we warned the Centre against it but they did nothing to avoid the landing of flights in Delhi,” said Jain.

The high number of cases in cities such as Delhi and Mumbai is indicative of community transmission, say experts.

Some commentators say that India went into lockdown early. Other countries, they say, lifted their lockdown when their disease curve had started to deflate, but here the restrictions are being eased as the curve is going up exponentially.

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