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Covid-19: ‘Centre, ICMR in denial mode regarding community transmission’

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on July 24, 2020 Published on July 24, 2020

A healthcare worker wearing a protective gear takes swab from a man to test for the coronavirus , in Mumbai on Friday   -  Reuters

The community transmission of Covid virus is on, especially in States such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and New Delhi. The number of Covid patients is increasing exponentially and the rate of infection is also soaring. Moreover, the tracing of those persons who had come in contact with patients has also become extremely difficult, said Avinash Bhondwe, Maharashtra state president of Indian Medical Association (IMA).

On Friday, 4.40 lakh active cases were reported in the country.

Bhondwe told BusinessLine that inability to successfully undertake contact tracing is a sign of community transmission. In the above-mentioned States, the situation is such that new patients with Covid infection are those who have no travel history or any direct contact with a Covid-19 hotspot.

He opined that the Centre should take a considered and matured view of the situation without worrying about international image and declare that community transmission has happened in the country and accordingly take steps. IMA ( Maharashtra) has been saying consistently that community transmission is happening and with due precaution, it can still be controlled.

Bhondwe said that in hot spots and containment zones, the medical teams need to be sent to every home for testing for Covid and those with co-morbid conditions and senior citizens must be compulsorily tested. In such an exercise the number of patients will rise but they would be detected and saved in time. Since such patients would be in quarantine and isolation facilities, the chain of transmission will break.

Assam and Kerala have recognised community transmission happening in some districts. But ICMR and the Union Health Ministry is still in a denial mode. The Centre should declare that the present high growth in the number of cases is a sign of community transmission and take additional steps for its control. It will need additional surveillance in hotpots and housing societies, he said.

He added that the first stage of the pandemic was the people travelling from foreign countries who got infected, the second stage was those who got infected from such travellers. At that stage contact tracing was possible. But as the pandemic spread and daily wage workers went back to their native places, the viral transmission was huge. Till date, early detection of viral infection in a person and detailed contact tracing is not happening methodically. Only close family members are being traced and tested, he lamented.

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Published on July 24, 2020
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