ICMR study shows many COVID-19 cases without contact or travel history
New Delhi, Apr 11: A study conducted by the ICMR of patients admitted with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) shows that 93 per cent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 and for whom data on exposure was known had neither travelled abroad not had any contact with a person known to be infected.
The study quoted by the Times of India says that of the 102 SARI patients who tested positive for COVID-19, no data was available for 59 cases regarding any contact they might have had with a patient who tested positive. There is no also data available about these persons regarding international travel. Of the 43 about who such details of exposure and history were known, 40 had no history of international travel or contact.
The report quoting health experts said that this appeared to be an indication of community spread.
On Friday, Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh asserted that community transmission appeared to have started in the state. He said that in the wake of the increased number of positive cases, the lockdown and curfew should continue.
He said that the state has controlled the pandemic to some level, but this will spread. We have to keep our contingency plan ready, he also said.
The World Health Organisation says, " 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."
The ICMR study said that COVID-19 positivity among SARI patients has increased from zero before March 14 to 2.6 per cent for the week ending April 2. Between March 22 and April 2, when the COVID testing strategy was expanded to include all SARI patients, 102 of the 4,946 samples tested positive.
The study, however, said that the data of SARI patients pertained to selected sentinel hospitals, predominantly in the public sector ones in urban areas and it may not be representative of the entire district, state or country. However the trend on COVID-19 positivity among SARI patients could provide reliable information about its spread in the area, the report also said.