With the 21-day lockdown, India aimed to contain and mitigate the novel coronavirus cases from rising.
However, with reports of a current spike in the number of confirmed cases, the outbreak situation seems to be aggravating.
A latest study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the nodal body tasked with combating COVID-19, suggests that the country might be on the verge of entering community transmission of the virus.
The study which is based on random sampling tests conducted on patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses (SARI), reported an increase in the number of coronavirus positive cases among such patients, with no travel history.
The data compiled by ICMR shows that 39.2 per cent of SARI patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, neither had a travel history nor had contact with a positive patient, hinting at a possibility of entering Stage 3 of transmission.
The study is based on weekly random sampling tests conducted for five weeks between February 15 and April 2.
These patients were reported from 36 districts of 15 states.
"These districts need to be prioritised to target COVID-19 containment activities," reported ICMR. The data has suggested that targeted containment in the districts reporting positive cases among SARI patients would assist in the efficient mitigation efforts of the outbreak.
Altogether, out of 5,911 SARI patients, 104 (1.8 per cent) have tested positive for COVID-19. These cases were from 52 districts in 20 states and union territories.
In the weeks before March 14, no SARI patient had tested positive for COVID-19. But when the testing policies were changed and instead of random tests, all SARI patients were tested, two of 106 patients were found positive between March 15 and March 21.
As of now, most COVID-19 positive patients acquired the virus from their travels abroad, or from an individual with foreign travel history. During this stage, tracing, isolation and treatment are relatively easier.
Community transmission is said to occur when an individual test positive for the disease, has not traveled to a country with an ongoing outbreak and has not been near a confirmed case or their close contacts.
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