NEW DELHI: Amid concerns that Covid-19 situation in India may flare up again due to increased mixing of people, crowds and lack of Covid appropriate behaviour during the festive season, the R factor in some cities in India has already started showing an increasing trend.
R factor refers to the effective reproduction rate which denotes the number of people getting infected by one infected person. If the value of the R factor is above 1, it means that one infected person can spread the infection to more than one person which suggests that the infection is spreading.
The figures, compiled by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, which has been tracking this value for India since the beginning of the pandemic, show that while for the country on a whole, the value has come down marginally over the past week, it has grown for at least three major metropolitan cities.
For India, the R value came down from 0.93 last week to 0.91 this week, but the figures in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata have reached above 1 once again.
In Mumbai, for instance, the R factor has gone up from 0.95 to 1.03 while in case of Bengaluru, the effective reproduction rate of SARS CoV 2 rose from 0.99 to 1.05.
Similarly, in the case of Kolkata too, the figure rose from 1 to 1.06 this week.
In the national capital, too, though the R factor has not crossed 1 mark yet, it increased from 0.92 last week to 0.95 this week.
Among the metropolitan cities, Chennai is the only one showing a decline and in the city, the R value came down from 1.05 to 0.95.
Sitabhra Sinha of the IMS told this newspaper that while the R factor for small geographical areas does tend to fluctuate more as compared to state or national figures, it should never be completely ignored.
“While there is no need to worry too much—these rising numbers should always be seen as a warning sign, especially if the trends are persistent,” he said, adding that it is possible that if no strict containment measures are taken, the cases could spill from cities to the hinterland.
For India, the value of SARS-CoV-2 had crossed 1 on July 27 for the first time since May 7 in the wake of rise in cases in Kerala and some Northeastern states but has been stable for last several weeks as the pandemic situation is now largely under control in most states.
In India, less than 20,000 new cases were reported in the preceding 24 hours and the test positivity rate has stayed under 2% for several weeks.
Flyers want Covid curbs lifted
Much to the chagrin of travellers
Travellers are increasingly frustrated with restrictions, shows a survey by International Air Transport Association.
64% respondents felt border closures were unnecessary and had not been effective in containing the virus.
67% respondents felt that most national borders should be opened by now.
73% air travelers responded that their quality of life was suffering as a result of travel restrictions.
Quarantine measures biggest no-no
More people were in support for testing or vaccination to replace quarantine.
84% respondents indicated that they wouldn’t travel if there was a chance of quarantine at their destination.
80% agreed that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely by air.
80% of respondents believe that testing before air travel should be an alternative for people without access to vaccination.