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Coronavirus: India witnessing 'community transmission', admits Health Minister


New Delhi, Oct 18: In a first, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday admitted that India is witnessing community transmission, adding that "it is limited to some districts and states."

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

He was responding to a question from a participant, who cited West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's remark that there are instances of community transmission in her state and asked the minister which are the states that have witnessed community transmission of the disease.

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During an interaction with his social media followers on the sixth episode of "Sunday Samvaad", Vardhan said "In different pockets across various states, including West Bengal, community transmission of COVID-19 is expected to occur, especially in densely-populated areas. However, this is not happening across the country. Community transmission is limited to certain districts, occurring in a limited number of states."

The Centre so far has denied community transmission of the coronavirus infection in the country.

Health ministry officials had said the World Health Organization (WHO) has not given any standard definition of community transmission.

It permits its member nations to assess the spread of the disease, based on their own analysis of the situation, and do their reporting, which the global body shows on its website.

Broadly, if it is not possible to trace the transmission chain, it means there is community transmission, officials said.

The Centre has maintained that there are clusters of cases and there are pockets of localised transmission.

Harsh Vardhan also said there is no evidence that can validate claims on global multiple focal points for the COVID-19 outbreak, amid China claiming that the coronavirus broke out simultaneously in several countries last year.

Vardhan said the reported outbreak of COVID-19 from Wuhan in China remains recognised as the first report worldwide.

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Responding to a question, he said China has claimed that there was a simultaneous outbreak of the disease across many nations.

"However, to validate this claim that there were multiple focal points across the world requires data of uniform and timely reporting of the occurrence of confirmed and diagnosed cases from various countries at the very same time. No such clinching evidence is as yet available regarding this. Therefore, the reported outbreak of COVID-19 from Wuhan in China has been recognised as the first report worldwide," the minister said.

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