Coronavirus: Does 2nd Tamil Nadu case hint at community transmission?

Topics Coronavirus

The number of Covid-19 cases in India saw a steep spike on Thursday, with the total number of positive cases touching 169
A 20-year old man who travelled by train from Delhi to the city tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, becoming Tamil Nadus second COVID-19 patient, over ten days after the first case surfaced in the state, Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said.

Incidentally, the first patient, a 45-year old engineer, has been discharged from hospital after his recovery, the Minister announced.

The youth, hailing from Delhi was currently in the isolation ward at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) here and being monitored closely, he said adding efforts would be launched immediately to trace those whom he had come into contact in recent days.

He is a 20-year-old hailing from New Delhi While coming to Chennai he was not showing any symptoms. But, yesterday he visited the RGGGH with symptoms of coronavirus and we collected his samples.

"A few hours ago, I received message from the Dean (of the hospital) that he has tested positive for the virus. Now we will be tracking the epidemiology link, Vijaya Baskar told reporters on Wednesday evening.

Earlier, in a social media post, he said: "Chennai reports the second positive case for #Covid19. The patient hails from New Delhi, is in isolation and stable under the observation of the expert team treating Covid-19."

The state government has already announced a lockdown, declaring holidays for all educational institutions and closure of places thronged by public in large numbers such as liquor bars, theatres, malls and resorts till March 31.

Is India's fear of community transmission coming true?

Tamil Nadu's health minister has indicated the patient did not have any history of foreign travel, describing him as a domestic case. Authorities, however, are not calling the case one of community transmission yet. NDTV quoted a senior officer from the Department of Public Health and Medicine as saying: "In Delhi, this man had come in contact with a person with foreign travel history. Only when many such people report we can call it community transmission." The Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh added, "We are tracing the contact presently."

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