Explained: Has Covid-19’s Stage 3 arrived in India?
New Delhi, Mar 23: The rapidly growing coronavirus cases took another huge jump on Sunday, touching 396 in India. The day's spike was 81 - a shade above Saturday's 79.
As the numbers mounted, the union government tightened safety measures, shutting down buses, passenger train service, including suburban trains. Metro services shut too.
The government has announced that only essential services will be operation in 75 districts in India where COVID-19 cases are reported.
This has created anxiety among the people and many opine that India the battle against coronavirus has taken to next level that is stage 3.
What is third stage of COVID 19?
The third stage in any pandemic is called community transmission. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), community transmission "is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories)".
In simple words, it can infect people with no history either of travel to affected areas or of contact with an infected person. If this happens, it is practically impossible to track every person, regardless of where they are from and who they have been in contact with, to spread the disease.
Community-based transmission of the virus is on a larger scale in countries like Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan. Health experts claim that the virus has not begun spreading at a community level in the country yet.
However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) maintains that India hasn't yet officially reached that stage.
Some recent cases of persons who tested positive for Covid-19 without no travel history has raised concerns. In West Bengal, a 57-year old resident of Dum Dum in 24 North Parganas district with no travel history to any overseas country, tested positive for Covid-19 while in Pune, Maharashtra, a woman in her early 40s with no history of travel abroad also tested positive for SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
Doctors have expressed apprehensions that the state might be staring at a Stage 3 escalation of the global pandemic.
Time to prepare for stage 3
Despite ICMR's assertions, it is now time to prepare for stage 3 of the global pandemic.
The government acted swiftly and shut all inter-state buses, passenger trains and metro services across the country till March 31. A total of 80 districts in 17 states and five Union Territories including Delhi where coronavirus cases were reported will be under complete lockdown during this perios.
In line with the centre, the state governments have issued orders allowing only essential services to operate in these 80 districts with confirmed COVID-19 cases or casualties.
Millions of people across the country stayed indoors and streets wore a deserted look on Sunday following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for a 'Janta curfew' to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 13,000 lives worldwide.
However, stage 3 of coronavirus calls for citizens to exercise a greater degree of responsibility. Social distancing will have to be accompanied by social solidarity. Employers will need to closely monitor any concerns and be sensitive towards their staff. Empathy for pateinets is the need of the hour and not stigmatisation.