Has India reached Stage III of the Coronavirus (Covid-19)? Stage III denotes community transmission; in India’s case this refers to an infection not caught abroad but caught from someone else, locally.
Doctors say “yes”, but the Central government has not yet confirmed it. The government’s data indicate the first peak of infections on March 4 and since then there is a steady rise. On March 21, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare records 283 Covid-19 positive cases.
Clusters in Maharashtra, Telangana, Kerala and recently Rajasthan show that asymptomatic carriers outnumber symptomatic, indicating that the virus is in the community though people are not being tested.
Epidemiologists say mass quarantine, with complete closure, is necessary to prevent further spread.
A single-day shutdown on Sunday will not help. More than two weeks of complete quarantine is required.
A senior doctor said that suspected transmission is behind the ICMR decision to test randomly.
The number who entered India from West Asia and Europe, February onwa-rds, is high. They came before airport screening began. This conclusion is derived from the Dubai cluster in Maharashtra, the Indonesian cluster in Telangana and the Italian cluster in Rajasthan. Kerala’s spread is by family members returning from abroad. These travellers’ histories show that the spread is to contacts and locals. “Contact tracing” is a Herculean task and by the time the contacts are traced, multi-clusters have already developed.
Experts also believe that there have been more than four deaths in India but there is underreporting to prevent panic.
Trauma and multi-organ failure are the given causes of such deaths, not the virus.
The government also worries about travellers being targeted and stigmatised, leading to law and order situations....