Majority of SG’s imported COVID-19 cases from India; Indian govt says no community transmission

Majority of SG’s imported COVID-19 cases from India; Indian govt says no community transmission

It was reported today (26 Jul) that there were 481 new coronavirus cases confirmed taking Singapore’s total to over the 50,000 mark, at 50,369.

There are five cases in the community, all of whom are Work Pass holders, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

In addition, there are four imported cases who had been placed on Stay-Home Notice upon arrival in Singapore.

We do not know the details of the newly imported cases yet but for yesterday’s six imported cases, two are PRs who returned to Singapore from India on July 12. The remaining four are Dependant’s Pass holders who also arrived from India between July 11 and July 13, including a three-year-old boy, an Indian national who had no symptoms.

Going through the records from MOH website, it appears that the large majority of imported cases who were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week are people returning from India.

Of the 37 imported cases as listed in the past week below, 78% are people returning from India.

More than 1.1 million people infected while Indian government denies existence of community transmission

Meanwhile, Indian media has reported that more than 1.1 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in India currently. It is present in almost every Indian state now.

The Indian government, however, continues to insist that there is no community transmission in India.

Several Indian scientists and health experts criticised the Indian government noting that the government position was entirely “untenable”. They said that community transmission is indeed taking place. Some sarcastically remarked that the Indian government’s view on the coronavirus pandemic situation is “laughable”.

As recently as last week, the Indian Health Ministry said that a bulk of India’s cases, about 80%, were confined to just 49 districts out of a total of 733, and therefore any “talk of community transmission is not justified”.

Many scientists disagreed. “You talk to any epidemiologist of any repute, who is outside of the government, and he or she will tell you the same thing. It is a totally untenable claim. It was untenable even earlier, but now… I don’t even know what to say to this,” said Vineeta Bal, an immunologist and a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research.

One senior scientist, who is advising a state government, said there was hard evidence and data to show that community transmission was a reality, and it was happening for a long time. He shared, “Our team is looking at the raw data. And there is clear evidence. There are hundreds of cases in which the chain of transmission is totally absent.”

Shahid Jameel, a virologist and chief executive of Wellcome Trust-DBT Alliance that funds health research in India, said, “To say that there is no community transmission happening, with 10 lakh cases and more… how is that even possible? You remember the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) had carried out a survey of people with serious respiratory diseases, and more than 40% of those surveyed did not know where they got the infection from. If that is not community transmission, what is?”

In any case, regardless of the Indian government’s stand, Singapore is currently getting most of its imported cases from India.

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