Dismissing speculation of community spread (stage three) of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh said that the state is still at stage two (local transmission) of the pandemic.
Dr Beela Rajesh told TNM that out of the 376 samples collected from patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), only three have tested positive for novel coronavirus. This she said indicates that Tamil Nadu is still in the second stage of transmission. The second stage of transmission is â€˜local transmissionâ€™ in which novel coronavirus spread is traced among the close contacts (usually friends and family) of those who were tested positive due to travel history during stage 1. Whereas, community transmission indicates the source of COVID-19 infection is not traceable and those without travel history or contact history are getting confirmed as coronavirus positive cases.
Tamil Nadu reported 102 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, of which 100 had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conference in Delhi in March. Out of the other two had tested positive, one had travel history to the US, while the source of infection for the other patient is yet to be traced.
The total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the state now stands at 411 with seven persons recovered. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Dr Beela Rajesh said that the number of people who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conference from Tamil Nadu has increased to 1200 and the state is strictly implementing the containment plan to prevent the spread of the virus. This puts the total number of positive cases in Tamil Nadu with some link to the Tablighi Jamaat conference in Delhi at 364.
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had on March 28 stated that 10% of SARI patients across the country had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR Raman R Gangakhedkar said that 11 out of 110 patients with SARI had tested positive. Out of this, only three did not have any contact or travel history, said officials. The three persons included one from Chennai, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
"There are some sporadic cases where people are not revealing their exposure history but their numbers are not significant enough to assume that the virus is spreading rapidly," Gangakhedkar said, denying community spread of COVID-19 in India.