India is currently at Stage 2 of the coronavirus pandemic that has hit over 100 countries. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), this means that at present, there is no community transmission of the virus.
What does it mean?
“We already know that we are in Stage 2. We are not in Stage 3, clearly as of now. The third stage is community transmission, which we hope we shouldn't have,” ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday.
“It would depend on how strongly we close our international borders, in which the government has taken very proactive steps. But we can't say that community transmission won't happen,” he said.
Here is an explainer on the four stages of an outbreak
Stage 1: This is when cases are imported from affected countries. Only those who travelled abroad test positive.
Stage 2: When there is local transmission from infected persons. For example, relatives or acquaintances of those who travelled abroad.
In local transmission, less people are affected. The source of the virus is known and it is easier to trace the chain, as opposed to community transmission.
Stage 3: This is when community transmission takes place and large areas get affected. Community transmission is when a patient not exposed to any infected person or one who has not travelled to any of the affected countries tests positive.
At this stage, people detected positive are unable to identify where they got the virus from. Italy and Spain are Stage 3.
Stage 4: This is the worst stage, when the disease takes the shape of an epidemic with no clear end point. That is what happened in China.