New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research has recently revealed its sero-surveillance study which has become the centre of controversy. Also Read - Nationwide Lockdown on Cards? After States, is Centre Planning to Impose Total Shutdown? Read Complete Truth

The study has two parts: The primary task was to estimate the fraction of the population who has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the general population. The second objective was to estimate the fraction of the population who has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in containment zones of hotspot cities. The sample size of the survey was 26,400. Also Read - COVID-19: Former India Opener Chetan Chauhan Tests Positive

These are the findings of the study: Also Read - Amitabh Bachchan's Bungalow 'Jalsa' Sealed, Declared Containment Zone; Security Beefed up Outside Nanavati Hospital

1. 0.73% of the population surveyed showed evidence of past exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
2. Measures taken during the lockdown have been successful in keeping the transmission low and in preventing rapid spread of COVID-19.
3. Compared to rural areas, the risk of spread is 1.09 times higher in urban areas and 1.89 times higher in urban slums.
4. The infection fatality rate is very low at 0.08%. This only means that a large portion of the population must continue following COVID appropriate behaviour suggested by from time to time.

Experts came down hard on the ICMR for its serosurvey findings, saying it was not reflective of the current situation and the government was showing “obstinacy” in accepting the truth.

AIIMS former director Dr M C Mishra said there is no doubt that there has been community transmission in several parts of the country.

“With the mass exodus and the country unlocking, it has become more rapid and the disease has reached areas where there were no cases. It is high time the government comes to fore and acknowledges it so that people become more alert and do not become complacent,” Mishra told PTI.

Talking about the ICMR serosurvey, he said the sample size of around 26,400 people is quite inadequate to capture the scale of the spread of the infection, especially keeping in mind the large population and the diversity of the country.

Virologist Shahid Jameel said India reached the community transmission stage a long time ago. “It’s just that the health authorities are not admitting it. Even ICMR’s own study of SARI (severe acute respiratory illness) showed that about 40 per cent of those who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 did not have any history of overseas travel or contact to a known case. If this is not community transmission, what is,” said Jameel.

India’s Covid-19 tally breached the three-lakh mark on Saturday with a record single-day spike of 11,458 infections, while the death toll rose to 8,884 with 386 new fatalities, the Union Health Ministry said.

With a Covid-19 caseload of 3,08,993, India is now the fourth worst-hit nation by the pandemic.

(With Agency Inputs)