Meanwhile, ICMR said that there was little evidence to suggest social transmission has begun in India Credit: Representational image

Guwahati: A new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare for transporting a coronavirus-related case on Sunday referred to India’s current phase of the pandemic as ‘local transmission and limited community transmission’.

“This SOP is applicable to current phase of COVID-19 pandemic in India (local transmission and limited community transmission), wherein as per plan of action, all suspect cases are admitted to isolation facilities,” read the document.

Also Read: COVID-19: Global cases cross 6.3 lakh: WHO; India toll 29 | LIVE

However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), while briefing the media on Saturday, once again refuted the possibility for the moment. Raman R Gangakhedkar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR said that there was little evidence to suggest social transmission has begun in India.

“There was no reason to panic at the moment,” Gangakhedkar said, while announcing that the ICMR has now switched from random samples testing to testing of all patients with severe acute respiratory infections (SARI).

This started as some cases have come to the fore where there has been no travel history of exposure. However, the numbers are not so exponential that we conclude that the virus is spreading rapidly, he added.

On March 19, a few days before India the nationwide lockdown was imposed to enforce social distancing, the ICMR said conducted more 800 random tests to detect community transmission, which had come out negative.

Experts at ICMR said that there are four states of the disease — stage 1- getting imported cases, stage 2 – local trans mission, stage 3- community transmission and stage 4 – when it turns into an epidemic.

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