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No community transmission of coronavirus in India, maintains Health Ministry

NEW DELHI: The Union Health Ministry on Friday maintained that there is no community transmission of novel coronavirus in the country so far while urging people to follow lockdown norms and social distancing properly.

Responding to a question over an ICMR study which stated that 40 out of 104 people having severe acute respiratory infection and later tested positive for coronavirus did not have any recent international travel history or contact with any confirmed cases of the disease, senior official of the ministry Lav Agarwal asserted, “No community transmission has happened in the country so far. There is no need to panic.”

“If there would be, we would be first to tell you so as to alert people,” the joint secretary in the ministry of health said at the daily media briefing.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) came out with the findings after carrying out random coronavirus tests on 5,911 people suffering from severe acute respiratory infection in 52 districts in 20 states and union territories between February 15 and April 2.

Out of the total sample size, 104 people (1.8 per cent) were found to have contracted coronavirus.

Of the 104, 40 of them did not have any recent international travel history or contact with any positive case of the infection, the study by the nodal medical research body said.

Reacting to the study, Agarwal said, “Samples of most of the 104 positive cases in the study were picked up from our VRDL laboratories in locations that have reported cases of COVID-19.”

He said the study didn’t say these people were from a place which reported no cases but added these cases should be further investigated.

According to the ICMR study, the chances of a severe acute respiratory infection patient getting infected with COVID-19 has increased from zero per cent before March 14 to 2.6 per cent by April 2.

The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 206 and the number of cases climbed to 6,761 in the country on Friday registering a record jump of 896 cases in a 24-hour span, according to the Union Health Ministry.

However, a PTI tally of figures reported by various states as on Friday showed at least 7,510 cases and 238 deaths.

There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the number of cases announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.

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