Indian Council of Medical Research's Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava on Tuesday addressed a press conference at the National Capital and informed about India reaching stage 2 of the Coronavirus pandemic. " We already know that we are in stage 2. We are not in stage 3, clearly," he said.
Informing about the laboratory expansion, the ICMR director-general said," currently the laboratory expansion of ICMR is engaged, we are expanding our number of laboratories and as we speak, today we have 72 functional laboratories in ICMR system."
"We have also engaged non-ICMR, Ministry of Health, govt laboratories include CSIR, DRDO, DBT, govt medical colleges, we have 49 of those labs which will start testing by the end of this week. We are also is also engaging with high-quality private laboratories, that include NABL accredited laboratories, to understand the modalities to increase access to the tests while ensuring appropriate safeguards," he added.
During the press conference, Dr Balram Bhargava also informed about the 4 stages of Coronavirus. "There are 4 stages. 3rd 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 the government has taken very proactive steps. But can't say that community transmission won't happen," he said.
According to the latest figures available on Tuesday, the total number of positive cases of Coronavirus in India has soared up to 137 as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Three deaths have been reported in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and West Delhi respectively. India has suspended all visas, barring for a few categories such as diplomatic and employment apart from keeping in abeyance the visa-free travel facility to OCI cardholders till April 15.
Moreover, the Centre has “strongly advised” Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. The government is also monitoring all suspected cases and has issued preventive advisories.
Taking into consideration the rising number of Coronavirus cases, the Central Government on March 14 decided to treat the deadly virus as a "notified disaster." The government has also decided to go into a partial lockdown as it ordered the shut down of all educational institutions, places of social gatherings like swimming pools, spas, gyms, museums, and cultural centers.