The Indian government Thursday said there was no community transmission of COVID-19 in the country but localized outbreaks in some geographical areas.
India, after the US and Brazil, is the third-worst affected country in the world, with 767,296 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday.
“Health minister Harsh Vardhan said that India has not arrived at the community transmission stage,” Rajesh Bhushan, officer on special duty in the health ministry, said at a press conference Thursday. “There is a localized outbreak in some geographical areas — 49 districts alone account for 80 percent of COVID cases. In such a situation, the question of community transmission does not arise.”
The World Health Organization has not issued any standard definition of community transmission or localized outbreak but has given the right to member states to assess the situation and report accordingly on it, Bhushan said.
The health ministry also painted a bright picture of its handling of the coronavirus cases, asserting that India’s deaths and cases per million in the country were among the lowest in the world.
“Case per million population in some countries are at least 16-17 times more than what it is in India. We have 15 deaths per million population whereas there are countries where it is 40 times as much,” said Bhushan.
He emphatically claimed that despite being the second most populated country in the world, India has managed the pandemic relatively well. Bhushan said that the gap between the active and recovered cases was widening progressively day by day.
“People who have recovered are twice the active ones. The caseload tells us that at the end of the day, we have managed the situation and our health infrastructure is not creaking because of the pressure,” he added.
According to the ministry’s daily bulletin, out of total 767,296 cases, 4,76,377 have recovered while 2,69,789 remain active in the country. With more COVID-19 patients recovering, the gap between the number of recovered cases and active cases has increased by 200,000.
Besides this, he said, the recovery rate stood at 62.09 percent and increasing — which is appreciable, the official added.
Bhushan, however, warned that the people between the age of 45-75 are most affected by the deadly disease and asked the federal and state government to give special care to them.
The Indian Council of Medical Research said that the number of tests have increased, and, on an average, more than 260,000 tests were being done every day. “We hope to follow the approach of test, track and treat.”
ICMR has also validated and approved the use of rapid antigen point of care tests, it said, adding that it will likely catch individuals in the early stage of infection and lower the burden on hospitals.