Union health Ministry’s official stand that India has still not reached community transmission phase currently notwithstanding, experts are concerned that India may have reached the stage of community transmission.
In a recent press conference, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has reiterated the fact India has still not reached community transmission phase currently. Speaking to a media outlet (CNN-News 18), the Health Minister insisted even that though localised transmission may have begun in places like Dharavi, Mumbai, it was effectively and quickly brought in control by timely action and management.
But, experts are not convinced with what Health Ministry has maintaining all the while.
With India registering over 34,000 fresh cases of novel Coronavirus and total tally inching close to 11 lakhs, the experts have sounded alarms that the community transmission of Covid-19 in India has started and the situation looks bad.
The Indian Medical Association has warned that the coronavirus situation in India is “really bad” and the fact that the infection is now spreading to rural areas points to community transmission.
IMA Hospital Board of India Chairman Dr VK Monga on Saturday told a news agency that India was seeing an exponential growth in the number of coronavirus cases as over 30,000 new infections were being reported each day.
Monga warned that it will be more difficult for the government to contain the coronavirus in towns and villages. “In Delhi, we were able to contain it, but what about interior parts of the country in Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa, Madhya Pradesh?” He added that the state governments need to coordinate with the Centre to manage the worsening health crisis.
ICMR is ramping up testing facilities regularly. At present, 885 government laboratories and 368 private laboratory chains are conducting Covid-19 tests across the country.
“This is a viral disease that spreads very fast. To contain the disease there are only two options. Firstly, 70 per cent population contracts the disease and gets immune, and other is getting an immunisation,” stated Monga.
Vaccination, being the greatest hope to contain Covid-19, India’s two indigenous vaccine makers would be starting human trials soon.
“Community transmission has been there from quite some time. It was localised to pockets, for instance- in Dharav i& several areas of Delhi. I 100% agree with IMA that there is community transmission in India”, said Dr Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Centre for Chest Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital to ANI.
What is community transmission?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), community transmission “is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories)”.
Health Ministry’s Stand
India has officially denied that Covid-19 has reached the community transmission stage. However, even before the coronavirus lockdown was announced, ICMR chief Balram Bhargava had said that community transmission is “inevitable”. He asked people to be “realistic and pragmatic” about it.
However, the Union Health Ministry has been maintaining that India is effectively dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, and there is no community transmission in the country.
Health Ministry on July 9 reiterated that there is no community transmission in India. It said, localized outbreak happened in few geographical area and 49 districts alone constitute 80 percent of the caseload.
On the vaccine trial, Health Ministry said, two companies in India have been given permission to initiate phase I and II human clinical trials for its potential COVID-19 vaccine and trial will start soon.
On the reports of airborne transmission of the Covid-19, Health Ministry said, it is an evolving situation and government is keeping abreast with the information coming out from the WHO on this aspect.