The Indian government continues to deny the existence of community transmission of the coronavirus in India despite mounting evidence.
BBC reported yesterday (26 Jul) that the Indian government is saying there is no clear definition of the term, “community transmission”, and each country can define it based on local conditions.
According to the guideline of World Health Organization (WHO), it said, “community transmission is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases”.
This is certainly happening in India, according to Dr Arvind Kumar, chairman of the Centre for Chest Surgery at Delhi’s Sir Gangaram Hospital. More and more patients are turning up at hospitals whose source of infection cannot be traced, he said.
India now has more than 1.4 million cases and more than 32,000 deaths.
“These stats don’t lie,” Dr Kumar said. “You have state after state where infection rates are going up rapidly. There is no point in denying what is right in front of you.”
“We had localized community transmission in early stages of the pandemic. But now it’s spread across the country, it’s there for everybody to see,” he added.
Many of the states were not prepared because they largely relied on quarantining and testing people coming from other states to stop the spread. But they did not take enough steps to curb the spread locally in their own state.
Critics pointed out that the borders between states are porous and that many states lack the means to track and test every person entering their territory. They also think that the Indian government officials continue to deny the existence of community transmission because these officials didn’t want to be seen as failures.
Leading epidemiologist Dr Lalit Kant commented that it’s pointless to argue about it now. “We really don’t need a definition to understand the ground reality,” he said. “It’s getting worse, and that is the harsh truth.”
Meanwhile, in the past week (18 – 25 Jul), out of 37 of imported COVID-19 cases in Singapore, 29 are people returning from India (‘Majority of SG’s imported COVID-19 cases from India; Indian govt says no community transmission‘).
They include Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, Work Pass holders and Dependant Pass holders.