Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 10
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday asked party Chief Ministers to scale up testing, tracking and vaccinations at a COVID review meeting with party ruled states.
Congress media head Randeep Surjewala said Congress president is addressing a meeting of Congress ruled states and Congress Ministers from alliance States to review the efforts to fight COVID-19, including availability of vaccines, access to medicines and ventilators. Priority is test, track and vaccinate,” she said to CMs.
Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, where Congress is in power in alliance and on its own have the highest burden of daily COVID cases nationally.
Over 64 per cent of all COVID deaths in the last 14 days have happened in Maharashtra and Punjab.
Case positivity rate is as high as 25 per cent in Maharashtra and 14 per cent in Chhattisgarh as against the national average of around 5 per cent.
Key to COVID containment is extensive tests till case positivity falls below 5 per cent. WHO advises 140 tests per million per day until rate falls below 5 per cent.
It’s feared that high burden states are missing infections as majority new cases are asymptomatic.
At the meeting Punjab CM Amarinder Singh told Sonia that Punjab has only five days of vaccines left.
“Punjab is left with only five days of supply (5.7 lakh Covid vaccine doses) at the current levels of vaccinating 85,000-90,000 persons a day. We have urged the Centre to share the schedule for supply of vaccines with the States over the next quarter based on their confirmed supply orders.”
Hoping that the Centre would send fresh batches of vaccine supply soon, the Chief Minister said if the state is able to meet its target of 2 lakh vaccines a day, then its current supplies will last only three days.
He said he had written to the Prime Minister and the Health Minister to give confirmed supply schedules.
Despite being a slow-starter in vaccination, Punjab has vaccinated more than 16 lakh persons, at an average of around 85,000-90,000 per day, he said during the video conference.
The meeting was attended by chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states, as well as senior party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi.
Amarinder said people in Punjab were still not coming out in large numbers for the vaccination due to the massive anger prevailing against the Government of India on the issue of Farm Laws.
He said since Punjab has majority population among the agriculture community, even the common man is affected by the farmers’ agitation, he said, adding “this anger is impacting the vaccination drive.”
He said his government is undertaking an extensive media campaign to address the misinformation regarding Covid and vaccination hesitancy.
Ranking 18th in the country at present in terms of cases reported, Punjab is showing around 8 pc positivity, with an average of around 3000 cases per days for the past 15 days, the Chief Minister apprised Sonia.
The number of cases is slightly stable, he pointed out, adding that “this shows that the steps taken in the last three weeks are in the right direction.”
Even in the graphs put up by Health Ministry in Prime Minister’s review meeting yesterday, the “curve appears to be flattened over the past fortnight,” he said, disclosing that the state currently has around 27,200 active cases with recovery rate of 87.1 per cent.
CM said deaths are a concern for Punjab, with around 50-60 daily deaths with a little under 2 per cent Case Fatality Rate (CFR) in the second surge.
Overall, CFR is 2.77 per cent for all reported cases since March 2020, he added.
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