New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India on Friday surpassed the United Kingdom (UK) to become the fourth most affected country in the world by the highly contagious coronavirus. With 2,97,535 coronavirus cases, India is now only behind the United States of America (USA), Brazil and Russia, according to the data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

There has been an alarming surge in the number of coronavirus cases in India, since “Unlock 1.0” or the first phase of the Centre’s three-phase plan to uplift the lockdown began in India. In the last 18 days, India has surpassed Italy and Spain – the worst affected countries in the world by the novel coronavirus – to become the fourth worst-hit country in the world.

There has been an alarming rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, especially after the start of ‘Unlock 1.0’, raising alarms that the community spread of the infection might have started in India.

However, the government has maintained that there is no community transmission of coronavirus in India, saying that there gaps in contact tracing in containment zones, which were sealed after a large number of cases were reported from that area.

"There is a heightened debate around this term community transmission. Having said that I think even WHO has not given a definition for it. And as we have so shown that India is such a large country and the prevalence is so low," the government has said.

"The prevalence has been found to be less than 1 per cent in small districts. In urban and containment areas it may be slightly higher. But, India is definitely not in community transmission. I would like to emphasise it," it added.

The government has also said that India is doing "pretty well" in its fight against the COVID-19 and will "win this war". While asserting that India adopted the same principles that China did to contain the coronavirus spread, its experience was different as the disease came through travel and affected multiple points.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) data, the countries that have seen community transmission of the virus infection include the US, the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Turkey, France, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines.

Many of these countries have lower case count than India, but figure among the nations having witnessed 'community transmission' -- a term typically used when a clear-cut contact tracing cannot be established for a large number of confirmed cases of infection.

For India, the transmission classification used by the WHO is 'cluster of cases', which it describes as a stage where a country experiences cases "clustered in time, geographic location and/or by common exposures".

(With inputs from PTI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma