In a joint statement, medical professional associations have criticised the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the Indian government. “Community transmission is already well-established across large sections or sub-populations in the country”, says the joint statement issued by three associations — the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) and Indian Association of Epidemiologists.
The government had insisted that there is no community spread of Covid-19 in India.
The statement further reads, “It is unrealistic to expect that Covid-19 pandemic can be eliminated at this stage given that community transmission is already well-established across the large sections or sub-populations in the country.”
The evidence of community transmission has come forward earlier when the Indian research body ICMR dropped possible hints at community transmission in clusters in India.
The statement also states: “Had the migrant persons been allowed to go home at the beginning of the epidemic when the disease spread was very low, the current situation could have been avoided. The returning migrants are now taking infection to each and every corner of the country; mostly to rural and peri-urban areas, in districts with relatively weak public health systems (including clinical care).”
The hard-hitting statement pointed out that open and transparent data sharing with scientists, public health professionals and the public, was “conspicuous by its absence till date”, and that this ought to be ensured at the earliest.
Three medical professional associations have submitted a joint statement to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 25. The signatories include former advisors to the health ministry, current and former professors at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences, Benaras Hindu University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, among others.
The statement reads: “The response of the Government of India after the first case on January 30, 2020 blunted the rapid progress of the infection and the nation accepted near-total disruption of all facets of daily living. Clinical, epidemiological and laboratory knowledge for control of the novel coronavirus indicate that humankind will have to “live with the virus” and operational strategies rapidly need to recalibrate from containment to mitigation.”