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Business News/ News / India/  Centre flip-flops on ‘community transmission’ of Covid-19

Centre flip-flops on ‘community transmission’ of Covid-19

The initial admission of ‘limited community transmission’ came through a SOP released Saturday for emergency medical relief
  • However, on Monday joint secretary Lav Aggarwal said the term was used only to highlight the government’s ‘action on field’
  • Covid-19 test kits are prepared at the Genetworx clinical lab. (AP)Premium
    Covid-19 test kits are prepared at the Genetworx clinical lab. (AP)

    NEW DELHI : The government on Monday denied that the coronavirus had started spreading at the community level in India, despite a document on its website saying the respiratory disease was in the stage of “limited community transmission".

    The initial admission of “limited community transmission" came as a result of a standard operating procedure (SOP) manual released on Saturday for emergency medical relief, as a guide for health workers, ambulance drivers and technicians for transporting patients.

    The covid-19 pandemic was in the stage of local transmission and “limited community transmission", the government said in line with the SOP.

    An infection is considered to have reached community transmission, or stage 3, when authorities are unable to find the source of infection for many cases, or tests during randomised surveillance yield many positive results.

    However, during a press conference on Monday, health ministry joint secretary Lav Aggarwal said the term was used only to highlight the government’s “action on field". Most patients either had a history of international travel or had come in contact with people who had travelled abroad. There was no evidence of many new patients being found in the larger community, he said.

    “There are very limited, very minuscule, number of cases where we are still doing contact tracing to identify where they got the infection from," he added.

    Nonetheless, some patients who have recently tested positive have no history of international travel and are not known to have come in contact with patients. Some cases have been reported in Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over the last two weeks of people who had only travelled to Delhi. However, the Union and state governments did not comment on the source of infection, leading to concern over community transmission.

    Testing is limited because of a shortage of kits but numbers have jumped from 500 to more than 1,200 in less than a week. On Monday, 143 new cases were reported across the country, taking the total number of cases to 1,222. Of these, 38 have died and 116 have recovered.

    Kerala and Maharashtra, the states with the highest number of cases, saw 32 and 24 new cases, taking their totals to 234 and 220 respectively.

    Delhi saw 25 new cases on Monday, taking the total cases to 97. Of these, two have died, five have been discharged, and one has left the country. Tamil Nadu on Monday reported 17 new cases, taking its total tally to 67. Of the 17, at least two patients have a travel history to Delhi. Five people tested positive in Karnataka on Monday, taking the number of cases to 88. Four of them were contacts of a patient confirmed on 26 March.

    Pretika Khanna, Sharan Poovanna in Bengaluru, Yunus Y. Lasania in Hyderabad, and M.K. Nidheesh in Ernakulam contributed to this story.

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    Published: 30 Mar 2020, 03:44 PM IST
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