New Delhi:

At a time when the count of coronavirus cases in the country has exceeded one million, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has said that community spread has started and the situation is quite bad.

While speaking to ANI, Dr V K Monga, the Chairman of IMA Hospital Board of India, said: "This is now an exponential growth. Every day the number of cases is increasing by more than around 30,000. This is really a bad situation for the country. There are so many factors connected with it but overall this is now spreading to rural areas. This is a bad sign. It now shows a community spread."

According to the latest health ministry update, the total confirmed cases in India have reached 1,038,716. Of these, 358,629 are active cases and 653,751 cured/discharged/migrated cases. A total of 26,273 deaths have been registered to date.

Dr Monga further said, "Cases are penetrating down into towns and villages where it will be very difficult to control the situation. In Delhi, we were able to contain it, but what about interior parts of the country in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Madhya Pradesh (which may be the new hotspots)?"

"All these issues are very important and the state governments should take full care and seek help of the Central government to control the situation," Monga said.

As many as 13,433,742 samples have been tested for Covid-19 till July 17. Of these 361,024 samples were tested on Friday, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.

ICMR is ramping up testing facilities regularly. At present, 885 government laboratories and 368 private laboratory chains are conducting COVID-19 tests across the country.

"This is a viral disease that spreads very fast. To contain the disease there are only two options. Firstly, 70 per cent population contracts the disease and gets immune, and other is getting an immunisation," stated Monga.

Vaccination, being the greatest hope to contain Covid-19, India's two indigenous vaccine makers would be starting human trials soon.

"There has to be phases of trials then human trial, then efficacy and side effects. Also, importantly it has to be seen how long this immunity will last because most of the patients are unable to go beyond three months of immunity," said Dr Monga.

Meanwhile,the Union health ministry said on Friday that Less than 1.94 percent of the 3.42 lakh active COVID-19 cases in India are in ICU, 0.35 percent on ventilators and 2.81 percent are on oxygen support, while the recovery rate has improved to 63.33 percent, .

The actual COVID-19 caseload in the country was 3,42,756, while 6,35,756 patients have recovered till date, with 22,942 being cured and discharged in the last 24 hours, according to a health ministry data updated at 8 am.

The recovery rate improved to 63.33 percent with India witnessing a steady rise in the number of patients recuperating from the disease, the ministry highlighted.On Thursday, the recovery rate was 63.25 percent.

The number of tests for detection of coronavirus cases has crossed the 13-million mark with 3,33,228 samples being tested on Thursday. The cumulative 1,30,72,718 samples tested so far has resulted in 9,473 tests per million, the ministry said.

India, the second-most populous country in the world with 1.35 billion people, has 727.4 cases per million, which is four to eight times lower than some European nations, it said.

Also, according to it, the country's case fatality rate at 18.6 deaths per million is one of the lowest in the world.

"It is also notable that less than 1.94 percent of the cases are in ICU, 0.35 percent cases are on ventilators and 2.81 percent cases are on oxygen beds," the ministry said.