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Community transmission concern in Tamil Nadu after second positive COVID-19 case

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 19 March 2020, 11:54 IST

A 20-year-old man who travelled by train from Delhi to Chennai has tested positive for coronavirus, taking Tamil Nadu’s tally to two. The case of this individual with travel history to Delhi has raised concerns of community transmission of the disease. He is now being treated in Chennai. According to Health Minister Dr Vijayabaskar the patient is ‘stable’.

Officials, however, are not calling the case one of community transmission yet. A seniior official from the Department of Public Health and Medicine told NDTV, "In Delhi, this man had come in contact with a person with foreign travel history. Only when many such people report we can call it community transmission." The Health Secretary Dr Beela Rajesh added, "We are tracing the contact presently."

The state of Tamil Nadu’s first Covid-19 case, a 45-year-old who had a travel history to Oman has been discharged after he tested negative twice following treatment. The State Health Minister tweeted, "He has completely recovered from the illness and back home. He will be home quarantined for two weeks."

Previously, the opposition DMK called for expanding the scope of testing to make way for those without travel history too be tested. DMK’s MK Stalin wanted private hospital and labs to be roped in to deal with what he called ‘any Italy like epidemic’.

DMK leader Dr Poongothai Aladi Aruna told NDTV, "The government has to understand disease has moved from local category to community category. The need of the hour is to provide access to diagnostic tests to all. I request the Tamil Nadu government to set up diagnostic centres in every district on a war-footing. Under-testing will lead to rapid community spread which in turn will become an epidemic and that will be detrimental to lives of health care professionals and public."

At the present moment 1.89 lakh people, mostly international passengers have been screened in Tamil Nadu. Of the 222 samples sent, only two have tested positive, 166 have tested negative, 55 samples are in process. More or less, 3,000 people are under home isolation.

On Tuesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research had held out that India is currently at Stage 2 of the pandemic that has hit over 100 nations, meaning that at present, there is no community transmission of the pathogen.

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First published: 19 March 2020, 11:30 IST