New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: After months of denial, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday admitted that India is in the community transmission stage. The minister, however, added that the phenomenon is restricted to certain districts and states. The Health Minister's remark came in response to a query during his weekly webinar, 'Sunday Samvaad' where he was asked about Mamata Banerjee's admission that the community transmission of Covid-19 has started in the state.

To this, the minister responded, "In different pockets across various states, including West Bengal, community transmission is expected to occur, especially in dense areas. However, this is not happening across the country. It is limited to certain districts occurring in limited states." This is the first time that the health minister has acknowledged the community transmission.

The Health minister also said that no major mutation of coronavirus has been detected in India, which is either more transmission efficient or more pathogenic. He reiterated that newspapers are safe as there is no scientific evidence that proves that novel coronavirus transmission can happen via newspapers. H

Earlier this week, Banerjee had urged people of West Bengal to maintain caution ahead of the upcoming Durga Puja season. "I ask everybody to follow the Covid-19 safety protocols during the festive season. There are instances of community transmission of Covid-19 and also the contagion becoming airborne," Banerjee was quoted saying.

Harsh Vardhan also informed that Bharat Biotech will develop an intranasal vaccine for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The minister said that the Hyderabad-based drugs and vaccine research and manufacturing company has entered into an agreement with Washington University and St. Louis University for the trials of the nasal vaccine candidate.

"It (Bharat Biotech) has entered into an agreement with Washington University's School of Medicine under which the company will conduct trials, produce and market an intranasal vaccine for the COVID-19," Vardhan told his social media audience at his weekly webinar, Sunday Samvaad.

In July, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had released a guidance document which had inadvertently revealed that community transmission happened in India as early as April.

(With IANS inputs)

Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha