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Tuesday, March 09, 2021

‘New Indian strains could be highly transmissible’

While doctors and nurses have come forward for the vaccination, other employees, said PGI Director Professor Ram, have been hesitant and they need to understand that the vaccine will give protection for six to nine months, check the spread of infection and break the chain.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
February 23, 2021 1:29:02 am

ON February 12, there were 33 patients from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal admitted to the dedicated Covid Hospital at PGIMER. The number grew to 44 by February 18. And now, according to Professor Jagat Ram, director, PGIMER, there are more than 55 Covid positive patients admitted to the hospital.

“We have seen the increase in the last 10 days. I would term it a significant number, keeping in view the new Indian strains, which could be highly transmissible and also the strain from the UK. Though yet not known, these fast-spreading strains could result in higher mortality and this rise in numbers could convert into a second wave, which we must prevent with collective efforts,” Dr Ram said.

On February 19, there were 156 cases and on February 20, the number was 169. The total number of active cases on February 21 was 186 and on February 22, 205.

In the beginning of February, Professor Ram added, “we witnessed a sharp decline in the number of Covid positive cases in the region and the entire country, and the slow and steady increase, apart from the new strains, could be attributed to the lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour and the general feeling in the public that Covid is over. We must not ignore safety measures. It is paramount that we test, do contact tracing and isolate those infected”.

The Covid-19 vaccination drive, which began on January 16, for healthcare workers and was later extended to frontline workers has also seen a lukewarm response, with the total target till Monday of both HCWs and FLWs being 57,843 and the number vaccinated being 15,039.

While doctors and nurses have come forward for the vaccination, other employees, said Professor Ram, have been hesitant and they need to understand that the vaccine will give protection for six to nine months, check the spread of infection and break the chain.

“It is extremely important to opt for the vaccine to protect oneself, one’s family and others. Covid is not over and the vaccine will protect us. Also, I feel if the database was in our control, we would be able to manage to vaccinate more people, be able to reach out better to the staff and make adjustments. Also, those who are currently infected cannot receive the vaccine, but those who have already had Covid, can opt for it after a few months. I feel the vaccination drive should now also begin for high-risk cases, people above 50 and 60 and with co-morbidities. We must maintain social distancing, wear masks and follow all safety measures,” Professor Ram said.

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