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Punjab: Two neighbouring districts, poles apart in Covid-19 track record

Amritsar is one of the worst affected, Tarn Taran among the least; govt officials attribute it to urban-rural divide.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar | December 2, 2020 10:11:53 am
Amritsar, Amritsar covid cases, Tarn Taran, Tarn Taran Covid cases, Coronavirus news, Punjab Covid cases, Indian ExpressPeople wait to be tested for Covid-19 at the Civil Hospital in Amritsar. (Express Photo: Rama Simranjit Singh)

Neighbour districts Amritsar and Tarn Taran have been on the opposite ends of the Covid-19 data spreadsheet.

One one side, Amritsar remained among the worst-affected districts of the state since the beginning, while Tarn Taran has made it to least affected, from being the second worst-affected district in Punjab at one point.

The contrast is impressive as both districts share a long border and Tarn Taran is very much dependent on Amritsar for business activities.

However, Amritsar has already crossed 13,000 cases with 501 deaths and 690 active cases. Meanwhile, Tarn Taran’s total tally is 2,056 with 16 active cases.

The exceptionally low positivity rate in Tarn Taran has brought it to the position of the least-affected district in the state.

The positivity rate of Tarn Taran was zero on Sunday, which means not a single sample out of 901 tested positive. Positivity rate remains much lower than 1 per cent on other days too. Only two tested positive out of 500 on Tuesday.

Tarn Taran had only 16 active Covid cases till Tuesday against 7,842 total active cases in state. Tarn Taran has reported 97 deaths.

“Major reason behind the difference in data of Amritsar and Tarn Taran is the urban population. Amritsar has big urban population . Most of the cases and deaths have been reported in Amritsar urban. We too had low number of cases in Amritsar rural areas. Tarn Taran is a largely rural area and it is the reason that they have low cases as compared to Amritsar,” said the district spokesperson.

Tarn Taran civil surgeon Dr Anooo Kumar too agreed on the urban rural criteria behind low cases in Punjab. However, he said it was also due to early isolation of positive patients.

“There was a time when pilgrims returned from Nanded and our district suddenly shot up to number two after Ludhiana. But we worked on isolation of positive patients. Only today we had state level meeting and Tarn Taran and Mansa both are appreciated for the quick isolation of positive patients where as some districts are taking two days for isolation of patient. Quick isolation reduces chances of spread,” said Tarn Taran civil surgeon Dr. Anooo Kumar.

“We had 80% cases concentrated in urban areas and only 20% cases in rural areas of Punjab. So it is true for all Punjab. Our big main cities were more affected than rural areas,” said Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, state nodal in-charge, Covid-19 management.

Ludhiana has still highest cases in Punjab at 22,824 with 906 deaths and 881 active cases.

Dr Bhaskar said, “Our daily new cases have been fluctuating been 500 and 550. So we can’t say that second wave has hit. We are not sure for now if second wave would hit or not.”

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