India is between Stage 2 and 3 of coronavirus pandemic with large number of cases being found in particular areas, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday concurring with the AIIMS Director's remarks that localised community transmission is being observed in some pockets of the country.
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, who is also a member of a Task Force on COVID-19, on Monday reportedly said that "localised community transmission" has been seen in some pockets and that India is between Stage 2 (local transmission) and Stage 3.
He had clarified that the most of India is currently at Stage 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked about Guleria's remarks, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal said, "What the AIIMS Director has said is not in variance with what we have been explaining to you."
Explaining further, Agarwal said that they go for a cluster containment strategy when limited cases are reported from a particular area while the government's action and intervention gets intensified when larger number of cases are reported.
"We tell you every time that if there will be a community transmission we will be the first one to tell you so that everyone gets alert. If we go by the wordings (of AIIMS Director), he said localised community transmission, which implies larger number of cases are being found in a particular area," the official said.
"We are in between Stage 2 and 3 and that implies that our efforts and actions should be focused on ensuring we do not shift to stage 3," the joint secretary said, adding there are clear defined strategies for containment in areas reporting larger number of cases and the government was working according to that.
In Stage 2, disease transmission is limited to those with travel history to affected countries or those in contact with the infected persons.
Community transmission or Stage 3 means a patient was infected though he had no known contact with another confirmed case of COVID-19 or travelled from a country affected by the pandemic.
Agarwal said there had been 693 new COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths since Sunday. The total number of cases stand at 4,067 with the death toll at109.
However, a PTI tally based on figures reported by states directly showed at least 126 deaths across the country, while the confirmed cases reached 4,111. Of them, 315 have been cured and discharged.