As per a Union health ministry document, limited community transmission of the deadly COVID-19 has begun in India. Community transmission will push the country into the stage where the source of a patient’s infection cannot be tracked and isolated. Even as the country enters the 6th day of the 21-day lockdown, coronavirus cases continue to rise.
So far, India has reported 1,190 cases and 29 deaths due to the novel virus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December.
A document detailing the standard operating procedure (SOP), released by the ministry of health and family welfare issued late on Sunday night, said: “This SOP is applicable to current phase of Covid-19 pandemic in India (local transmission and limited community transmission), wherein as per plan of action, all suspect cases are admitted to isolation facilities.”
There are four main stages of the pandemic that has infected over 7,00,000 people worldwide. The first stage is when cases are imported and are not of local origin. Stage 2 witnesses local transmission when infected people come in contact with a positive patient having a travel history. India was at Stage 2 so far. Stage 3 is community transmission where you cannot track the source of the virus and stage 4 is an epidemic.
Till now the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had firmly maintained that India was at Stage 2 of the transmission despite the growing cases of people with no known contact to an infected person or travel history rising over the past week.
Community transmission indicates that undiagnosed cases are infecting others, which by extension means that the situation is getting a little out of hand.
Raman Gangakhedkar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases, ICMR, said: “I cannot comment on this right now, this issue will be addressed in the ministry briefing.”