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COVID-19 community transmission limited to few districts, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan admits after months of denial

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New Delhi: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday (October 18, 2020) admitted that community transmission of the novel coronavirus occurred in certain districts in a limited number of states but not countrywide, the minister said during his weekly social media programme ‘Sunday Samvaad’.

The statement comes in the backdrop of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s statement that COVID-19 community transmission has started in the state.

Vardhan`s remark came as a response to a query made during his weekly webinar. The question was it there were other states with community transmission like West Bengal.

To this, the minister responded, “In different pockets across various states, including West Bengal, community transmission is expected to occur, especially in dense areas. However, this is not happening across the country. It is limited to certain districts occurring in limited states.”

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This is the first time that the health minister has acknowledged the community transmission after denying the community spread of the infectious pathogen it for months. 

Meanwhile, Banerjee urged people of West Bengal to maintain caution ahead of the upcoming Durga Puja season.

Read | COVID-19 vaccine may be ready by December, may hit the market in this month: SII

“I ask everybody to follow the Covid-19 safety protocols during the festive season. There are instances of community transmission of Covid-19 and also the contagion becoming airborne,” Banerjee was quoted saying.

Incidentally, in July, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had released a document stating that community transmission took place in India as early as April. However, the document was later taken down from the website.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus cases in India nears 75-lakh with 1,14,031 fatalities reported by Ministry of Health data. Out of the total cases, 7,83,311 are active cases and 65,97,210 are cured/discharged/migrated cases. 

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