The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Indian Council of Medical Research clarified on March 26 that there was no evidence of community transmission of coronavirus in India.
Concerns were being raised on reports of a spike in cases in Bhilwara (Rajasthan) and Hyderabad, to which Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, Indian Council of Medical Research said, "There are one-two cases where contact history has not been ascertained… so this is not enough evidence of community transmission. If there was evidence of community transmission, we would have told you. Currently, there is no such evidence."
"We are currently in local transmission stage. In Bhilwara, there was a doctor who had travel history. More people came in contact with that doctor at the hospital where he works. Now, if there are 500-600 positive cases in the country right now and if we cannot ascertain the contact history in 1-2 cases, then we do not say that community transmission has started,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“We will call it community transmission where we cannot find the source of transmission in a large number of cases. As of now, there is no such situation," he clarified.
The government will have to raise an alarm in case of community transmission as that will involve a higher level of alertness among the masses, Agarwal pointed out and added that there is absolute transparency about the stage of transmission.
The government and ICMR added that while the number of cases have been rising, the rate of rise has stabilised. However, they have cautioned that people should practice social distancing and adhere to lockdown norms to ensure minimum transmission of the deadly virus.
"We are seeing a larger number of cases getting reported. Though the trend is not very well established.. Simultaneously, we are realising the rate at which cases are rising, we are seeing in terms of relatively stable trend or a little bit reduction in the rate of increase of cases. This however does not establish a clear trend. We are hopeful that with effective social distancing measures, proper treatment of positive cases, proper contact tracing, we are ensuring that all people who are under home quarantine or at facilities being monitored properly, we should ensure that this trend continues," Agarwal said at a press conference on March 26.
As of 10.15 am, India had a total of 649 positive cases, out of which 602 were Indians. A total of 13 victims had died, while 42 people were cured or discharged.
First Published: IST