Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey on Tuesday informed the Rajya Sabha said that the evidence, as stated by the World Health Organisation, suggests the coronavirus spreads through direct, indirect or close contact with infected people through saliva and respiratory secretions, PTI reported.

“Airborne transmission of the virus can occur in healthcare settings where specific medical procedures, called aerosol-generating procedures, generate very small droplets called aerosol,” Choubey said.

“Current evidence suggests that Covid-19 spreads between people through direct, indirect [through contaminated objects or surfaces], or close contact with infected people via mouth and nose secretions,” the global health body had on July 9 said. “These include saliva, respiratory secretions or secretion droplets. These are released from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings, for example. People who are in close contact [within 1 metre] with an infected person can catch Covid-19 when those infectious droplets get into their mouth, nose or eyes.”

In its guidelines on the rational use of personal protective equipment issued on March 24, Choubey said the government had included the possibility of airborne transmission in aerosol-generating procedures and recommended appropriate kits for all settings where such transmission was possible.

The WHO had also said that it was essential for health workers performing medical procedures during the pandemic to take proper precautionary measures, including the use of personal protective equipment.

“There have been reported outbreaks of Covid-19 in some closed settings, such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking, or singing,” the global health body added. “In these outbreaks, aerosol transmission, particularly in these indoor locations where there are crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces where infected persons spend long periods of time with others, cannot be ruled out.”

At Tuesday’s Monsoon session, Choubey said that 10 states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Odisha, Assam and Kerala – account for 77% cases in the country.

India coronavirus tally rose to 49,30,236 as it reported 83,809 new cases in the last 24 hours. The toll rose by 1,054 to 80,776.

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