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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the reports of nCoV infection growing in the India, and when persons returning from abroad have been the source of infection in the country, a report in the British Medical Journal quoting a document submitted to UK government by the Public Health England that Covid-19 outbreak is expected to last around 1-year, means until Spring 2021, looks quite alarming.

As on Tuesday evening, India has reported 137 Covid-19 positive cases. Significantly, after posting the highest spike of 25 cases on March 15 (Sunday), the country has recorded nearly 10 new Covid-19 positive cases during the last 24-hours. Karnataka, Maharashtra and UP have reported news cases in last 24-hours. Even, Maharashtra has reported country's third and first Covid19 death in Maharashtra on Tuesday.

The scenario in Odisha still remains hazy. One has been tested positive on Sunday, and after contact tracing, the State government has put 53 more under quarantine for 14-days. Many more blood samples were sent for examination. The State government foreseeing more arrivals from abroad has yesterday made registration  mandatory for the foreign-returned persons. Non-compliance will lead to arrest and jail term.

In the given scenario of a consistent spike in Covid-19 positives in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research, country's apex medical research institution, had started testing of randomly collected samples, especially from patients showing flu/pneumonia-like symptoms, from Sunday in all its 51 research labs, including Odisha. Sources indicate the results of such random testing will be out tomorrow (Wednesday). The tests were conducted by the ICMR to ascertain community transmission of nCoV in India.

ICMR reports reveal that such a random sampling test carried out in February resulted negative. But experts are curious about the ICMR's latest random sampling test results. The reason: In March, cases in India have shown a rapid rise.

Community transmission possible for virus originated abroad?   

This is possible. And USA stands testimony to this. In February,  cases in California, Oregon and Washington State have come to fore, where the infected neither had any travel history nor was in contact with any Covid-19 positive. Post surfacing of such cases, US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has observed that community transmission of nCoV is taking place in US.

How it become possible? A nCoV infected will show of symptoms after 14 days, but his/her respiratory droplets within the incubation period can do the secondary infection. An individual without having travel history or any close contact with Covid19 positive can contract the virus from contaminated surface.

And the best way to prevent community transmission, as per all leading research bodies, is lockdown, means closure of places of large gatherings, and social distancing.

As per WHO, intensive tracking and detection could only break the nCoV transmission cycle, in order to prevent inland transmission, thermal screening need to be done for travellers originating from source states like - Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka.

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