Is coronavirus airborne in India? Here’s what govt says

Amid claims by experts that Coronavirus may be airborne, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today didn’t confirm whether it is true. However, the ministry noted that this is an evolving situation and the government is keeping abreast with information coming from WHO. “It is a dynamic and evolving situation. We are keeping abreast with the information coming from WHO headquarters on this aspect,” Rajesh Bhushan, OSD, Ministry of Health, said at a press conference while talking about claims of COVID-19 being airborne.

Over 200 scientists from 32 countries recently wrote to the WHO that there was evidence of coronavirus being airborne and even smaller particles could infect people. The claim by scientists was a significant departure from the WHO claim till now that COVID-19 spreads primarily through coughs and sneezes.

The scientists’ claim of coronavirus being airborne was reported by The New York Times. The scientists said that that clusters of infections were rising globally as people started visiting back to bars, restaurants, offices, markets and casinos. This trend increasingly confirmed that the virus lingers in the air indoors and infects those found nearby.

The open letter by 239 scientists of 32 countries outlined the evidence showing that smaller particles of coronavirus could infect people. As per the report, the scientists asked the WHO to revise its recommendations. The scientists further said they planned to publish their letter in a scientific journal next week.

What WHO says
For a long time, the WHO has held that COVID-19 spreads by large respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. However, in its latest update on June 29, the WHO noted that airborne transmission of the coronavirus was possible only after medical procedures that produce aerosols, or droplets smaller than 5 microns.

No community transmission yet?
Answering the question on whether community transmission of COVID-19 has started in India, the Health Ministry today said the World Health Organization (WHO) has also not provided any standard definition of the localised outbreak and community transmission. They have given its member states the right to report after assessing the local conditions. – Financial Express

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