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COVID-19: India has still not entered the community transmission stage: Union Health Minister

At the daily press briefing on the actions taken by center government for coronavirus epidemic, The union health ministry on Monday asserted that 92 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking total cases to 1,071 and the number of deaths to 29, yet the ministry said that India has still not entered the community transmission stage and said that the ministry will inform and admit whenever the country will reach the community transmission stage.

“The country is still in the local transmission stage, if it reaches the community transmission stage, the Health Ministry will admit it, but the country is not there yet. This SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] is applicable to the current phase of COVID-19 pandemic in India (local transmission and limited community transmission), wherein as per the plan of action, all suspect cases are admitted to isolation facilities,” a statement from the ministry said. The procedures were meant as a guide to be used for training ambulance drivers and technicians in transporting COVID-19 patients. They were also aimed at supporting program officers in “monitoring functionality and infection prevention protocols of the ambulances.”

The ministry also urged the citizens to practice and maintain social distancing as it is the only way to contain the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. Underlining the importance of social distancing, he said even one person’s carelessness can lead to the spreading of this pandemic. He said rather than spreading panic, there is a need for creating awareness about COVID-19.

Speaking at the same press conference, R Gangakhedkar from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said 38,442 tests have been conducted till now, out of which 3,501 were done on Sunday. In the last three days, 1,334 tests have been done in private labs. “We are still at less than 30% of our testing capacity,” he added.

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