Covid: Community transmission happening or not in India?

Chennai: Amid fears expressed by some experts over community transmission of Covid-19 in India, the government has said the country has not yet reached that stage and asserted that there have been localised outbreaks in some geographical areas.

The Union government’s assertion was made on a day India registered a record single-day surge of 24,879 Covid-19 cases, taking the caseload to 7,67,296 while the death toll climbed to 21,129 with 487 new fatalities.

According to Health Ministry, despite the India being the second most populous country, its Covid-19 cases and deaths per million population are amongst the lowest in the world.

“In spite of a population of 1.3 billion people, India has been able to manage Covid-19 relatively well,” Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty in the Union Health Ministry said.

The World Health Organisation report said India has 538 cases per million population while it is at least 16-17 times more in some countries.

“Again we have 15 deaths per million population, whereas we have countries where it is 40 times as much,” he added.

When asked whether India has entered the community transmission phase, Bhushan said, “Even today, the Health Minister clearly said after the GoM that India has not reached the stage of community transmission. In some geographical areas, there have been localised outbreaks.”

“We should not forget that in our country, 49 districts alone account for 80 per cent of Covid-19 cases. In a country of more than 733 districts, if 49 districts account for 80 per cent cases, then it is not justified to talk about community transmission,” he added.

He said that wherever there are active cases, if the prescribed protocol is followed, in three days close contacts of such cases can be traced and tracked.

“So in such a situation in which you can trace and track close contacts of active cases, talking about community transmission is not justified,” Bhushan said and added that the WHO has also not given a specific definition of localised outbreak and community transmission.

He said that they (WHO) have given this right to their member states to analyse the situation and do its reporting which the global body shows on its website.