New Delhi, Mar 17, 2020: Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday that India is in stage two of coronavirus outbreak.
“We already know that we are in stage 2. We are not in stage 3, clearly as of now. There are four stages. Third stage is community transmission which we hope we shouldn’t have. It would depend on how strongly we close our international borders, in terms of which government has taken very proactive steps. But can’t say that community transmission won’t happen,” Bhargava said while addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Hindustan Times reported.
Among the different stages of the spread of the virus, stage two is when there is local transmission from imported cases (stage 1) to one or more close contacts.
Stage three is community transmission, as is happening in Iran, Korea, US and many parts of Europe, with then last stage being an epidemic, which devastated China.
“All asymptomatic patients who have taken international flights in past 14 days should get tested if they develop symptoms,” said Bhargava.
The virus has spread to more than 150 countries and 13 states in India, where it has shot up from three cases on February 2 to 137 on March 17.
With several instances of at-risk travellers and their contacts evading screening, refusing to stay home quarantined for two weeks, or slipping out of isolation wards across the country, the threat of community transmission of Sars-Cov-2, the viruses that causes Covid-19, is likely to happen sooner than later.
Community transmission is said to occur when Covid-19 is diagnosed in someone who has not travelled to a country with an ongoing outbreak and has not been near a confirmed case or their close contacts.
“We are in the process of engaging private NABL accredited laboratories for carrying out testing of Covid-19 cases. We have 72 functional ICMR laboratories in govt sector for testing; 49 more will be active by month end,” said Bhargava.
We appeal to all private laboratories to offer Covid-19 diagnosis free of cost, he added.
It is far more difficult to contain because anyone and everyone could be infected or infecting others, as is happening in Italy, Iran and South Korea, which would mean everyone with fever and cough will need to be home quarantined for Covid-19.