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Thursday, May 13, 2021

146 districts are cause for concern, positivity of over 15%: Government

A total of 2,95,041 new cases and 2,023 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases has now crossed the 21-lakh mark, while the death toll has touched 1,82,553.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
Updated: April 22, 2021 8:10:56 am
Relatives wearing personal protective equipment attend the funeral of a man, who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a crematorium in New Delhi, India April 21, 2021. (Reuters)

The Centre said on Wednesday that 146 districts have reported a positivity rate of over 15 per cent and are a “cause of concern”, while 274 districts have reported 5-15 per cent case positivity.

It also released data which showed that post-vaccination, only “2-4 persons per 10,000” had tested positive.

A total of 2,95,041 new cases and 2,023 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases has now crossed the 21-lakh mark, while the death toll has touched 1,82,553.

“These 146 districts are a cause of concern. We have held detailed discussions with the 146 districts on efforts that have to be undertaken to control the spread of infection. These are the districts where the maximum number of cases are coming and the health system is facing the strain of new cases,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

Bhushan said for the next phase of vaccination, which begins May 1, the Centre will inform the states 15 days in advance about the doses it will receive. He said the vaccine prices charged by private hospitals will be monitored.

“The Centre will inform the states in advance that for the next 15 days they will receive a specific number of doses… They will have a bigger picture as well as granular picture of availability as on date and future availability for the fortnight,” Bhushan said.

“Those above the age of 18 years will be administered vaccine doses that are procured by the states and private hospitals from the open market channel,” he said.

“The two vaccines prevent severe disease and death. These vaccines reduce infection. We know that after vaccination if we get the infection, it is known as breakthrough infection. The data shows that this is a very small number — 2-4 per 10,000… This is because of healthcare workers and frontline workers who were the first to be vaccinated, and they are prone to more occupational exposure,” said DG, ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava.

Covid -19 Testing & Senior citizens during dose of COVID-19 vaccine, in New Delhi Hospital ,Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya – on Friday in New Delhi. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

“The current highly transmissible second wave may also contribute a little to the post-vaccination breakthrough infection,” Bhargava said.

According to data released on Wednesday, of the 10.03 crore who received the first dose of Covishield vaccine, 0.02 per cent (17,145) tested positive; and of the 1.57 crore who received both shots, 0.03 per cent (5,014) tested positive. For Covaxin, 0.04 per cent (4,208) of the 93.56 lakh who received the first dose tested positive; and of the 17.37 lakh who received both doses, 0.04 per cent (695) tested positive.

Ten states and Union territories have reported over 40 per cent vaccine coverage in the 60-plus age group: Ladakh, Sikkim, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Lakshwadeep, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. On an average, 26.16 per cent in this population category across the country have received the first dose. Burial of a COVID-19 patient, amid spike in coronavirus cases countrywide, at a graveyard in New Delhi. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

The Centre also released data which showed that the prevalence of deaths is almost the same as in the first wave, across most age groups. According to the data, in the below-10 years age group, 0.27 per cent deaths were reported in the first wave, and 0.34 per cent in the second wave; for 10-20 years, it was 0.53 per cent and 0.31 per cent; for 20-30 years, it was 2.08 per cent and 1.72 per cent; for 30-40 years, it was 5.27 per cent and 5.39 per cent; for 40-50 years, it was 11.98 per cent and 10.82 per cent; for 50-60 years, it was 23.29 per cent and 21.23 per cent; and for 60-70 years, it was 28.76 per cent and 28.21 per cent.

However, in the age group of 70-80 years (19.99 per cent and 22.17 per cent), and above 80 years (7.82 per cent and 9.81 per cent), more deaths were reported in the second wave.

On the oxygen shortage being reported in several parts of the country, the Centre said it had received an expression of interest for supply of oxygen from different foreign companies. “We are evaluating and will soon do an allotment. In normal circumstances, it takes three weeks to despatch oxygen,” Bhushan said.

The Centre also announced that it has increased the quantity of medical oxygen supply to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, UP, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Delhi.

Of the 7,500 metric tonnes being generated in the country, 6,600 metric tonnes are being distributed in the form of medical oxygen to the states, the Centre said.

“Earlier steel plants were in the list of exemptions. However, we have amended this so that only captive steel plants receive oxygen for industrial purposes. The other steel plants have been removed from the list. The additional oxygen will be provided for medical facilities,” Bhushan said.

He reiterated that “private sector hospitals will no longer receive vaccines from the Centre”. “They will have to procure directly from the 50 per cent available in the open market. The prices charged by the private hospitals will be monitored. We will inform about it separately…the stocks and price of the vaccines will be captured on the Co-WIN platform,” he said.

“Free vaccination will be available at all centres which are receiving vaccine doses from the Government of India… On the basis of the doses supplied by the Government of India, those above the age of 45, healthcare workers, frontline workers will be vaccinated,” he said.

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