NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday warned that the Covid-19 situation in India is getting from bad to worse and asked districts with high caseloads to ensure 100% vaccination of all above 45 within the next two weeks. The warning came as the country recorded over 4 lakh new cases over the past one week, registering nearly 58,000 daily cases on an average and a growth rate of nearly 7% active cases.
On Sunday, over 68,000 new cases were reported — the most in a day since October and about half of them were from Maharashtra. “We are facing an increasingly severe and intensive situation in some districts but the whole country is potentially at risk. All efforts to contain the virus and save lives should be taken,” said V K Paul, member, health at Niti Aayog and chairman of the national Covid-19 task force.
“Trends show the virus is still very active and enter our defences, just when we think we can control it, it sparks back,” he added. With the Covid vaccination window for all above 45 years of age opening from Thursday, the Union health ministry said those without pre-registrations (walk-ins or onsite registration) can get vaccines only after 3 pm and not in the forenoon session.
Centre asks states to formulate district-wise plans
Meanwhile, in a letter to the chief secretaries of all states, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said many districts in the country are seeing clusters of cases emerging because of specific events and places where crowding happens or where large gatherings are not following Covid appropriate behaviour. “Some districts that saw a high number of cases in August- November are again seeing a high growth rate of cases,” said the letter.
The secretary has said where there are clusters of cases, simply quarantining individuals or families will not help and larger containment zones with clear boundaries and stringent controls must be implemented. Importantly, all districts with high case load and fast growth of cases have been asked to ensure 100% saturation of Covid- 19 vaccination of the priority group of age 45 and above, in the coming two weeks.
There are 47 districts which have been identified in these two categories and the vaccination for all above 45 without any condition begins from April 1. The states have also been asked to focus on mortality reduction by examining indicators such as case fatality rate and its growth, identifying localities and hospitals where deaths are high and doing death analysis to understand the system related issues of why the deaths are happening. The government has also promoted states to enforce Covid appropriate behaviour using the Police Act or powers under the DM Act.