India has reported over 52,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far with nearly 1,800 fatalities due to the infection but the Health Ministry has maintained that there not been community transmission yet. India’s parameters and classifications are different from that of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has put ‘Community transmission’ at the highest level.
The WHO has described the transmission in four different levels and is based on a process of country/territory/area self-reporting. The UN health agency reviews classifications on a weekly basis and may revise it according to the latest available information on the virus outbreak. As per the different degrees of transmission, the WHO has classified it into ‘no cases’, ‘sporadic cases’, ‘clusters of cases’, and ‘community transmission’. The latest situation report released by the WHO has kept India in the ‘clusters of cases’ category.
While ‘no cases’ category is meant for no confirmed cases of coronavirus, ‘sporadic cases’ signals to one or more imported or locally-detected cases. ‘Cluster of cases’ is for a region experiencing coronavirus cases, clustered in time, geographic location and/or by common exposures. Community transmission has been marked for the region experiencing larger outbreaks of local transmission defined through an assessment of factors including, but not limited to, large numbers of cases not linkable to transmission chains.
However, India has defined it the first stage is when the cases are imported from affected countries and only those who travelled abroad test positive. In Stage 2, local transmissions through infected persons who travelled abroad take place. In such a scenario, authorities identify the source of the virus which makes it easier for them to trace the chain and interrupt it with quarantine and social distancing.
The third stage is of community transmission when a patient neither exposed to any infected person nor came in contact with someone who travelled to affected countries tests positive. It requires large scale lockdown and aggressive measures by the governments to contain the disease. Stage 4 is the worst of all when the disease becomes an epidemic with no clear endpoint.