Lately, there has been a lot of talk regarding the start of community transmission of Covid-19 in India but the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has repeatedly denied it. As per the ministry, India is still in stage two, known as local transmission, of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
However, in an official document that it issued recently, the Health Ministry refers to India's current stage as "limited community transmission", which implies that we have certainly entered stage three.
Limited community transmission has begun, says ministry document
The Health Ministry recently laid down several guidelines for transporting a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in a document called Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and issued it to the concerned authorities.
"This SOP is applicable to the current phase of COVID-19 pandemic in India (local transmission and limited community transmission), wherein as per the plan of action, all suspect cases are admitted to isolation facilities," read the first point of the SOP.
Here is a screenshot:
Joint Secretary dismisses community transmission claims
Present at the release of the COVID-19 SOP, Luv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry, insisted the media to not give much importance to semantics.
"It is now like if any government document has the word 'community', you guys will pounce on it. I would like to reiterate that we are still in local transmission, if we enter community transmission we will the first ones to inform you," Aggarwal told reporters.
"As a word, 'community' is used in the government document is in a particular context. It is nothing like that we are in that stage. We are presently in local transmission," he added.
What is community transmission?
Community transmission, or stage three, refers to the phase in which a disease spreads rapidly and there is no way to identify the source. Countries dread community transmission as a large chunk of the population gets infected without even knowing that they were exposed to a fatal disease.
India's COVID-19 case count currently stands at over 1,100 and the threat of community transmission is definitely looming large.