As India registered a record jump of 4,213 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the government on Monday said some relatively large outbreaks have been noticed in particular locations and it is important to focus on containment efforts to ensure that the country does not reach the community transmission stage.
The government also said the coronavirus tracking app Aarogya Setu is secure as it has been designed keeping in mind the privacy of people and is playing a crucial role in India’s fight against COVID-19.
Asked if there has been a community transmission of the disease, joint secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal at a press briefing said, “Some clusters have been found here (in the country), and in some cases in some particular locations relatively large outbreaks have also been noticed.”
“And in this context, if you remember even AIIMS Director (Dr Randeep Guleria) had said that if these are not contained properly, the transmission rate would become higher. So, it is important for us now to focus on containment efforts and ensure that we do not reach the stage of community transmission,” he said.
Agarwal said 4,213 COVID-19 cases and 97 deaths have been reported in last 24 hrs till Monday 8 am, taking the total cases to 67,152 and death toll to 2,206.
As many as 20,917 COVID-19 patients have been cured until now, taking the recovery rate to 31.15 per cent. Also, 1,559 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, the highest number of recoveries recorded in one day.
Ajay Sawhney, Chairman of the Empowered Group 9, which deals with Technology and Data Management, said the mobile application has been developed to alert people before they come in contact with infected patients and to alert the health system to take adequate steps for their help.
The Aarogya Setu mobile app has contributed significantly in India’s fight against COVID-19, he said, adding that the app has been designed keeping in mind the privacy of people.
Around 9.8 crore people have downloaded the Aarogya Setu app and it is available in 12 languages, Sawhney said.
Information about 697 potential COVID-19 hotspots was generated through the Aarogya Setu app, he said, asserting that the application is secure, is used only for health interventions, and does not reveal the identity of people.
Around 1.4 lakh Aarogya Setu app users have been alerted via Bluetooth contact tracing about the possible risk of infection due to proximity to infected patients, Sawhney said.
The Aarogya Setu app will soon reach a user base of 10 crore and it has created a world record in being the fastest app to reach five crore users, he said.
Asked about certain media reports claiming that government is mulling religion-based mapping of hotspots, Agarwal said it is a very irresponsible, baseless and incorrect news.
The spread of COVID-19 has nothing to do with race, religion, area and it spreads due to lack of precautions, he asserted.
Agarwal said people having COVID-19 symptoms should not hide them and come forward to report so that they don’t spread the infection to others.