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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Delhi: Covid cases cross 500, experts say need to broaden vaccine drive

The positivity rate was also higher and stood at 0.66%, after 80,856 people were tested for the virus.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi |
March 18, 2021 2:38:36 am
Senior citizens being given the vaccine at Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, Wednesday .

Delhi continued to witness an uptick in the daily number of Covid-19 cases, with 536 new infections reported on Tuesday, the highest single-day tally since January 6. The positivity rate was also higher and stood at 0.66%, after 80,856 people were tested for the virus.

For the last few days, the city has been witnessing an upward trend in the daily number of Covid-19 cases. Health experts have emphasised on ramping up the ongoing vaccination drive along with following the Covid-appropriate behaviour.

According to experts, the number of people getting vaccinated can be directly linked to the fall in the daily number of new infections.

Citing examples of other countries, Dr S K Sarin, head of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), said, “Whichever country has taken vaccination in a particular age group, the number of new infections in that age group has declined. Whether it is the UK or Israel, the data from both the countries show that if you vaccinate, then after four-six weeks of the second dosage, the number of new infections fall down. In India, to say that the numbers are increasing, we first need to identify the age group from which the cases are on a rise. At present, we are vaccinating only a small group.”

The mass immunisation programme in Delhi is now restricted to healthcare and frontline workers and those above the age of 60 years and between 45 and 59 years with comorbidities. Delhi had planned to inoculate three lakh healthcare workers and six lakh frontline workers in the first phase. However, with the initial hesitancy for the vaccine, authorities are yet to fully immunise the first priority group.

“We need to know the locations from where these individuals have come so that contact tracing can be done aggressively. Much higher number of people should get the first dose of the vaccine. After 14 days of the first dose, nearly 60-70% of people with any vaccine will have some protective antibodies. Leaps of steps are required to expand the vaccination programme. If the vaccine is available, then the age bar should be removed and the number of centres should be ramped up, even at the district level,” said Dr Sarin.

Meanwhile, Ghaziabad administration imposed section 144 in the district for two months wherein persons older than 65 and younger than 10 have been advised to remain indoors. This comes after the district saw more than 130 cases in the last 10 days.

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