Public Health Foundation president, Prof. K Srinath Reddy said virtually every country which experienced Covid-19 in a major way has seen community transmission.

Bengaluru: India must gear up to face the possibility of community spread of the COVID-19, a prominent health expert said on Friday, cautioning that there could be more widespread transmission of the novel coronavirus due to easing of the lockdown.

On some experts suggesting that there is already community transmission (stage 3) of the virus in the country, President of Public Health Foundation of India, Prof. K Srinath Reddy maintained that it is a matter of definition.

Because, if one looks at the spread to people without history of travel or history of contact, certainly there are several such cases, he said.

“But most of them are concentrated around the original points of entry of the foreign travellers or the travel routes of their contacts. So, these people who are describing it as stage 2 still are saying this is traceable local transmission, it is not unpredictable community transmission, he told PTI.

Therefore, we are avoiding the term community transmission. It is a matter of definitions and language; we need not debate that really, Reddy, who formerly headed the Department of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said.

But he said it should be recognised that community transmission has occurred in virtually every country which experienced this pandemic in a major form and India should also be prepared for it and act as though it is happening and take all precautionary containment measures.

There is not only risk and but actually threat of community transmission, said Reddy, who presently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard.

According to him, nations in South East Asia, including Malaysia, and India in particular, have kept the COVID-19 death rates per million of the population low compared to countries where the pandemic broke out around the same time.

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