India on Sunday admitted for the first time that the country is witnessing “community transmission” of the novel coronavirus.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said community transmission of COVID-19 occurred in certain districts but is not countrywide.
"In different pockets across various states, including West Bengal... however, this is not happening across the country,” he said in his weekly press briefing. “It is limited to certain districts in limited states."
Community transmission is the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases.
India has the second highest number of COVID-19 infections in the world after the US. Its caseload has crossed 7.49 million, including 114,031 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
On China’s claim that the virus broke out simultaneously in several countries last year, Vardhan said “there is no evidence that can validate the claims on global multiple focal points for the novel coronavirus outbreak."
Meanwhile, a government-appointed panel has concluded that India likely crossed the virus peak last month.
The panel has claimed that the outbreak could be controlled by February 2021, provided all protocols are followed and the government does not relax activities further.
It has projected that 30% of India’s population has developed COVID-19 antibodies.