India in stage 2 of virus transmission: what this means

India is in the second stage of coronavirus transmission: what this means

DH photo by Pushkar V

The Union Health Ministry has started random testing of people, who were suffering from respiratory ailments such as influenza and pneumonia but do not have a history of travel abroad, to ascertain if there has been community transmission of coronavirus infection.

Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, “We already know that we are in stage 2. We are in not in stage 3, clearly.’ The community transmission stage is the third stage of virus outbreak. Here’s what the stages mean:

What do these stages mean?

Stage 1 or Imported and sporadic cases: This is where only those who have travelled to virus-hit countries test positive

Stage 2 or local transmission: This is when the source of the transmission is known and can be located, usually with ones close to the patient such as family or people s/he have come in contact with. Those who test positive at this stage are those who have a history of travel to affected countries or are in close contact with those who have,

Stage 3 or community transmission: This when the source of the infection cannot be located because several areas get affected. This happens when a patient tests positive despite no exposure to an infected person nor any history of travelling to an infected country. Italy and Spain have reported community transmission. Containing this stage also depends on how strongly the countries seal their borders. Countries like Italy and Spain are at this stage.

Stage 4 is when the disease is termed an epidemic, or an outbreak so severe with no clear end point for the ongoing transmission. This is the state China is in currently.

The ICMR chief said that India has around a 30-day window to halt the beginning of community transmission of Covid-19 cases according to a TOI report.

On Tuesday, ICMR also revised the testing criteria for COVID-19 under which an individual should home quarantine themselves for 14 days: Either direct close physical contact of laboratory confirmed positive case or having a history of travel to high risk COVID-19 affected countries in last 14 days.

According to a senior ICMR official, around 1,040 samples of patients admitted at various hospitals due to influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory ailments have been collected and tested to check if the virus has infected those without a history of travelling abroad, so far a majority of the results came back negative. The final results will be declared on today.

The government has made 52 laboratories functional for testing samples while 57 labs have been designated for helping in sample collection to enhance diagnosis and detection capacity of the disease.

(with inputs from agencies)



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