NEW DELHI: The Union government on Tuesday listed out two crucial parameters for opening up districts after weeks of heavy restrictions to contain Covid spread -- test positivity rate of less than 5% for at least a week and a minimum of 70% vaccination coverage for the vulnerable groups.
There are 344 districts in India as of now which have a positivity rate of under 5%, as per the data shared by the Centre.
In terms of easing the district-wise lockdown and begin unlocking across states, authorities added that for opening districts, Covid positivity rate should be below 5% for a week but maintained that community ownership of Covid appropriate behaviour remains a crucial tool to keep the pandemic under control.
Officials also insisted that over 70% of the vulnerable population -- people above the age of 60 years and also those above 45 and with comorbidities -- must have received vaccine doses in such districts.
"Gradual lifting (of lockdown) will not witness a massive surge. However, we have to ensure that vaccination is prioritised. The vaccination rate for the vulnerable population must be up to 70% and Covid appropriate behaviour should be followed, "said Balram Bhargava, ICMR Director General during a press briefing on Covid situation in India.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the positivity rate should remain below 5% for at least two weeks before an outbreak can be considered to be under control in a geography.
As coronavirus cases across India are now showing a declining trend, many states that had resorted to lockdowns to combat and contain the deadly second wave are slowly opening up but some states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh have extended the Covid-related curbs with specific relaxation.
The figures presented by the Union health ministry, meanwhile, showed that there has been a steady decline in weekly test positivity rate since the last three weeks even when the testing has increased significantly.
The weekly test positivity rate in the country was 8.31% on Monday while the daily positivity rate which had crossed 22% during the peak in early May tapered down to 6.62% on the last day of the month.
Statistics also showed that 30 states in India reported decline in active cases since last week and there has been a consistent decline in active cases which presently stands at 18.95 lakh.
The active Covid cases have come down by over 18 lakhs since the peak on May 10 which means there has been a decline of almost 50%.
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