New Delhi: With the cases of coronavirus going up rapidly in the country, the officials of the Union Ministry of Health on Monday said that the country is between Stage 2 and 3 of coronavirus pandemic as large number of cases are being found in particular areas. Also Read - Telangana May Extend Coronavirus Lockdown Beyond April 14, Says CM K Chandrasekhar Rao

The development comes after AIIMS Director earlier remarked that localised community transmission is being observed in some pockets of the country. Also Read - Ankita Lokhande's Housing Society Gets Sealed After a Resident Tested Positive For Coronavirus

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, who is also a member of a Task Force on COVID-19, on Monday highlighted that localised community transmission has been seen in some pockets and that India is between Stage 2 (local transmission) and Stage 3. However, he later clarified that most parts of the country are currently at Stage 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also Read - Any Coronavirus Patient Spitting On Others Will Now Be Booked For Attempt to Murder in Himachal Pradesh

Talking about Guleria’s remarks, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal said, “What the AIIMS Director has said is not in variance with what we have been explaining to you.”

“We tell you every time that if there will be a community transmission we will be the first one to tell you so that everyone gets alert. If we go by the wordings (of AIIMS Director), he said localised community transmission, which implies larger number of cases are being found in a particular area,” he said.

“We are in between Stage 2 and 3 and that implies that our efforts and actions should be focused on ensuring we do not shift to stage 3,” he further said, adding there are clear defined strategies for containment in areas reporting larger number of cases and the government was working according to that.

In Stage 2, the disease transmission is limited to those with travel history to affected countries or those in contact with the infected persons. But the Stage 3 means a patient was infected though he had no known contact with another confirmed case of COVID-19 or travelled from a country affected by the pandemic.

Giving further updates about coronavirus cases in the country, he said there had been 693 new COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths since Sunday. He added that the total number of cases stand at 4,281 with the death toll at 111.

As per updates from Health Ministry, 28 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours — 21 from Maharashtra, two each from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and one each from Punjab, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

The Health Ministry further stated that Maharashtra has reported the most coronavirus deaths at 45, followed by Gujarat (12), Madhya Pradesh (9), Telangana (7), Delhi (7), Punjab (6) and Tamil Nadu (5).

On the other hand, Karnataka has reported four deaths, while West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have recorded three fatalities each. Meanwhile, two deaths each have been reported from Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana have reported a fatality each, the Health ministry updated.