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India is still maintaining its position at Stage 2 of the COVID-19 outbreak, which is the Local Transmission stage. Authorities claim that there is no evidence of Stage 3 – Community Transmission of Coronavirus in India, right now.
Local Transmission signifies that in case a person is found to be infected with Coronavirus, the person who passed on this infection is traceable. This person would typically be a family member, friend, or colleague who might have travelled abroad or would have come in contact with another person with a travel history. This backtracking of the deadly infection is termed as ‘Contact Tracing’ and is a crucial step in the attempt to stop the spread of this virus.
There are four stages of the spread of Coronavirus.
Stage 1 – ‘Imported Case’
Stage 1 cases are the ones with people who have travelled abroad recently, usually the places that have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and have travelled back to India.
Stage 2 – ‘Local Transmission’
Stage 2 cases are the ones with people who have come in contact with someone with recent travel history. Contact Tracing is possible and extremely necessary at this stage.
Stage 3 – ‘Community Transmission’
Stage 3 is when the outbreak is at large and expands its horizons. In Community Transmission, a person ends up getting infected without getting exposed to another infected person or someone who has travelled one of the affected countries.
At this stage, it is impossible to trace the infection back to a person.
Stage 4 – ‘Epidemic’
Stage 4 is the last stage of the Coronavirus outbreak. At this stage, the disease takes the shape of an epidemic with no clarity as to how and where it will end.
This is the stage that the world saw China deal with.
What is Being Done?
The NABL accredited private labs in India are being sent out guidelines and have been asked to begin with the Coronavirus testing. Additionally, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is going to initiate operations at two Rapid Testing Labs along with 49 testing centres towards the end of this week. Currently, there are 72 such functional centres across the country.
The Rapid Testing labs will be set up in Delhi NCR and Bhubaneswar, well equipped to test 1,400 samples everyday. The additional testing centres will be set up at various medical colleges, among other places, including Defence Research & Development Organisation, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, and Department of Biotechnology.
ICMR has stated that at least 11,500 samples have been tested since 21st January, with 177 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in India. Out of these 177 cases, 15 patients recovered and have been discharged and 3 cases turned out to be fatal.
How to be Prepared?
The testing criteria for COVID-19 has been revised by ICMR. According to this new criteria, an individual must self-quarantine for 14 days in either of the two cases –
- A travel history to a high risk country in the last 14 days, or
- Close physical contact with someone who is a lab confirmed positive case for COVID-19
These individuals must get themselves tested if they develop symptoms like fever, cough, or breathing problems within this period. If tested positive, they must be isolated and treated accordingly.
Furthermore, healthcare professionals who have been managing patients with respiratory issues or any chronic respiratory diseases must be tested in case they begin to showcase the above listed symptoms.
State governments across India have been taking necessary steps too. While many have taken to disinfect and sanitize all modes of public transportation in their respective regions, Indian Railways and Delhi Metro have started the sanitization process as well. Indian Railways have decided to get rid of all sheets & curtains from the air conditioned coaches in their trains.
It is vital that the country remains on a lockdown and we take all the necessary steps to cut the roots of this Coronavirus pandemic in India before Stage 3 begins. It is time to act now!
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