India coronavirus pandemic not in community-spread stage: Official


The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) Thursday said community transmission of the novel coronavirus had not yet begun in the country.

Community transmission is the phase of a pandemic when the source of a person’s infection cannot be traced.

However, many accounts on social media from cities such as New Delhi ad Mumbai seemed to suggest that is exactly what is happening: People are getting COVID-19 despite staying at hone under lockdown and without any known contact with a coronavirus-positive person.

The ICMR, at a media briefing Thursday, said India’s first sero-survey on COVID-19 spread has found that the lockdown and containment measures were successful in preventing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

However, a large proportion of the population still remains susceptible, it said.

The sero-survey has two parts, ICMR director general Balram Bhargava said at the briefing. The first is estimating the fraction of the general population that has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or tyhe novel coronavirus, and the second is estimating the fraction of population that has been infected in containment zones of hotspot cities.

The study will survey 26,400 people people in 83 districts.

The survey has found that 0.73 per cent of the population in the 65 districts surveyed so far had evidence of past exposure to SARS-CoV-2 , Bhargava said.

“Lockdown and containment have been successful in keeping it low and preventing rapid spread,” he said.

However, a large proportion of the population was susceptible and the risk was higher in urban areas (1.09 times) and urban slums (1.89 times) than in the rural areas, Bhargava said.

“The states cannot lower their guard and need to keep on implementing effective surveillance and containment strategies,” Bhargava said.

“India is not in community transmission,” he said.

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