Coronavirus infections have not reached community level: Harsh Vardhan

"We are in touch with everything going on the research front," Harsh Vardhan
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said coronavirus infections have not reached the "community level" and asserted the government is trying to use "good information" in the best manner to deal with the situation.

"We are in touch with everything going on the research front," he said.

The number of coronavirus cases have crossed 190 in India and at least four people have died due to the infection. The minister told Lok Sabha that there is a well-defined protocol and scientific advice on who needs to be tested for the coronavirus infection.

Measures have been taken for detailed tracing of contacts and that the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) is conducting tests, he said. He also said that the coronavirus infection has not reached "community level".

"We are trying to use good information... for best use of our country," Vardhan said during the Question Hour about the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

Noting that the government is in regular contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the minister said that as per information available, "I don''t think there is any need for apprehensions".

The response was to a query by Congress leader Manish Tewari on whether the government would be talking to WHO in order to look into the origin of the coronavirus.

The member also wanted to know whether the coronavirus could be a result of certain scientific experiments that went astray. "We are in touch with scientists all over the world...ICMR conducting research," he added.

On some members wanting to know about facilities for tests of coronavirus, the minister said whatever is being done now are "the perfect scientific advice".

A senior official of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) confirmed on Wednesday that 820 random samples collected for analysis had tested negative for coronavirus disease and there was no evidence to indicate any community transmission as of now.

Experts at the ICMR said there were four states of the coronavirus disease. Stage 1 is when the virus transmission is imported and not a domestic case, stage 2 is a locally transmitted case when a section of people test positive after having come in contact with a coronavirus-poistive patient. Stage 3 is comunity tramssion and Stage 4 is when it turns into an epidemic. India, as of now, is at stage 3.

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