Health Nation

10% patients with respiratory illness test positive for coronavirus COVID-19, no community transmission yet: ICMR

Amid the rising coronavirus cases in the country, India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Saturday (March 28) reiterated that there is no community transmission of COVID-19 in India so far but the ICMR said that around 10 per cent of those who have been tested positive so far due to severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) have been found positive for the deadly virus.

Talking to reports, ICMR scientist R Gangakhedkar said that out of 110 people, who were tested due to SARI hospitalisation, about 11 have tested positive for coornavirus.

“Also, three of these patients, who belong from Chennai, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra do not have any travel history nor any contact with an infected patient. These few cropped up cases are not the base of solid evidence for community transmission. So, it has not started in India and there is nothing to panic. People should maintain social distancing to avoid any crisis,” Gangakhedkar added.

“We have strengthened our capacity of testing and tracing of cases across India. So far more than 150 (government and private laboratories) are doing diagnostic tests for covid19,” he added.

The ICMR scientist also said that in the absence of proper guidelines, if self-testing kits are made available in public, then it could lead to chaos and leave people confused. “It is because the behaviour of the people cannot be anticipated and they can avoid contacting the authorities,” he said.

In India, the number of coronavirus crossed 900-mark on Sunday and at least 19 people have lost their lives due to the deadly virus. Globally, the total number of positive cases reached 640,589 and 29,848 people died according to figures by Johns Hopkins University at 11:45 pm IST on Saturday. The last 24 hours have been a major spurt in the number of positive cases and deaths.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund), a public charitable trust. The fund has been set up so that the people who want to contribute can do so by following a few simple steps which will help the government tide over the major COVID-19 hurdle.