Amid surge in coronavirus cases across India, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain today took a jibe at the centre as he said: "We're stuck in technical terms" and the government should have admitted India is in "community spread" stage.
"When cases are increasing on such a large scale in Delhi and other parts of the country, we should have accepted that there's community spread. I think we are stuck in technical terms here.. but only ICMR (country's top medical research body) or the central government can comment on this."
While replying to a question if there's a community spread in Delhi, Mr Jain said: "It doesn't matter what I think. I can, for sure, say there's spread within the community. Community spread is a technical term... scientists are better equipped to tell this."
India, second worst-hit nation in the world after US, has been reporting more than 90,000 cases a day in September; over 16 lakh fresh cases have been recorded this month. Its tally stands at 53 lakh cases with the disease having affected most states and union territories.
Since the beginning of June, when Delhi saw a sharp surge in cases, the AAP government has been urging the central government to declare community transmission as the source of infection in "at least 50 per cent cases" was unknown.
However, the centre had maintained that the prevalence is too low in the country. "We are definitely not in community transmission. It is only a term," ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava had said at the time.
Talking to reporters today, Mr Jain said despite Delhi's rising numbers its positivity rate has reduced to 7 per cent and lower in the past week indicating some improvement.
"The positivity rate in Delhi was 6.76 per cent yesterday. Last week, it was more than 8 per cent. This is the first time that the overall positivity rate has been below 10 per cent (9.83 per cent),"he said.
In the last five days, the Aam Aadmi Party government has added 500 ICU beds in Delhi hospitals as the COVID-19 fatality touched 30 - double of what it was a month ago. The case doubling rate in the city-state has also increased to 40 from 101 in late August.
Of the four stages of the Covid outbreak, Stage 1 is when cases are imported from affected countries. Only those who travelled abroad test positive. Stage 2 is when there is local transmission from infected persons.
Stage 3 or 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.