Amid the surge in the number of Coronavirus cases in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr. Raman R Gangakhaedkar on Thursday said that India has not yet reached to the community transmission phase. He also said that the ICMR will be increasing its testing facilities throughout the country by the coming week.
Speaking to Republic Media Network, Dr. Gangakhaedkar said, "Till date in our country, the infected people are those who have travelled abroad or foreigners so that was called the first stage or imported case. Once this imported case passes this disease to anyone they meet then it is called a cluster case. That means that a group in contact with the infected person is now infected themselves it will be called as localised transmission or second stage. Now if the condition worsens further and someone with no travel history or was not in contact with any positive case person tests positive then that is called community transmission."
"To check whether community transmission is happening or no we found out 52 hospitals all over the country and we collected 20 samples from each hospital of people with respiratory illness and are admitted in the ICU and tested them. After checking 820 such patients we came to know that there is not a single case of community transfer yet. It can also mean that we do not have any community transmission as no case has been proven," he added.
Speaking about the ICMR testing labs he said, "There were 820 people admitted in the ICU with respiratory illnesses so now to increase the random testing we will increase the hospitals to 100 and we will do this test every week with 20 patients from each site to test them for COVID-19 disease. The patients are not selected randomly all those in ICU are tested. When community transmission starts it will be called the third stage.
"We are preparing the country to fight in the third stage. If there is a case it should be tested, quarantined and isolated in time. We are trying to increase access to testing. We had 70 labs but till mid-week, it will increase to an additional 50 labs more," he said.
Earlier today the ICMR has confirmed that there is no community transmission of the COVID-19 virus yet. The development comes after ICMR tested 826 cases to check if there is any community transmission of the virus and found the results to be negative. The ICMR is said to have shared details of the same with the central government on Thursday.
826 samples tested, none of them are positive so far: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to ANI on random samples tested so far to rule out community transmission of COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/sUpWjdc9I4— ANI (@ANI) March 19, 2020
Had the results turned positive, it would have been a serious concern nationwide as other nations such as Italy, France, Iran are bearing the brunt of the community transmission of the virus leading to lockdown in their respective countries. These nations are at stage three of the virus while India has managed to restrict the virus to stage two with the next two weeks said to be critical in containing the virus.