Punjab, Himachal report highest covid surge in India over past week : The Tribune India

Punjab, Himachal report highest covid surge in India over past week

Only 11% of the eligible people have taken booster doses despite govt’s special free drive

Punjab, Himachal report highest covid surge in India over past week

Photo for representation. Tribune

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, July 27

Punjab and Himachal Pradesh witnessed the highest weekly surge in covid-19 cases over the past week in India with the Centre red-flagging the two states for rising infections on Tuesday.

Between the weeks ending July 19 and July 26, Punjab saw average daily cases rise 2.48 times from 254 to 631 while Himachal saw a 1.57 times surge from 384 cases to 603, the highest spike rates among all states.

Overall, six states -- Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka and Odisha -- continue to report more than 1,000 average daily covid cases while Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal and Chhattisgarh are witnessing 500 to 1,000 cases a day, making these states a hotbed of persisting infection.

Top sources in the health ministry said the recent surge was a matter of worry with the covid cases rising globally. 

Japan is now witnessing 1.5 lakh daily cases while the US is seeing 1.29 lakh infections a day.

“Covid is not over,” official sources said, noting that the national booster dose acceptance trends are worryingly low.

As of today, only 11 per cent (7.3 crore) of India’s eligible 69.97 crore beneficiaries have taken the precaution dose despite the government launching a free drive on July 15.

Government data show the uptake improved compared to the pre-free covid dose period but is not adequate.

Till July 15, the average booster doses being given daily were just 4.7 lakh a day, a number that rose to 20.4 lakh a day after July 15, but not sufficient given the volume of vulnerable population due for the third dose and the low antibody and past vaccine protection levels in an increasingly rising segment of people.

As of today, 181 districts out of 734 have over 10 per cent weekly positivity indicating high infection rate while 107 districts have a positivity between 5 and 10 per cent.

"Although even today only Omicron and its sub-variants are circulating in India and there's no change in treatment protocols, we have to be careful considering recently rising global cases with the average daily cases worldwide over the last week being 11.06 lakh," said Health Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal.

Overall, India has 1,47,512 active covid cases while average daily cases over the last week were 19,267 at a case positivity rate of 4.53%.

The WHO flags positivity rate above 5% for active containment and covid protocol.

Current vaccination status

*1st dose (101.89 cr which is 96% of 12-year-plus population covered)

*2nd dose (93.04 cr which is 88 pc of the 12-year-plus covered)

*Eligible population for precaution doses: 68.97 cr

*Precaution doses given: 7.3 cr

*4 cr have not taken first dose

*7 crore have taken first dose but not the second.

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