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Most of poll-bound UP, Punjab, Manipur vulnerable to Covid: empowered group

According to the report, 65 of 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh, 21 of 22 districts in Punjab, and 9 of 16 districts in Manipur are listed as “Category 1” and “Category 2” districts, which “represent high vulnerability to emerging Covid pandemic due to Omicron variant.”

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: January 12, 2022 7:47:57 am
The report – “Vulnerability of districts for Covid-19“ – was shared with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday, two days after the Election Commission announced the Assembly poll schedule for five states (UP, Punjab, Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand). (Representational)

Most of the districts in three poll-bound states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur – have been found to “represent high vulnerability to emerging Covid pandemic due to Omicron variant”, with their population at “heightened risk of severe disease and adverse outcomes”, according to an analysis by one of the empowered groups constituted by the Centre on Covid-19.

The report – “Vulnerability of districts for Covid-19“ – was shared with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday, two days after the Election Commission announced the Assembly poll schedule for five states (UP, Punjab, Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand).

According to the report,  seen by The Indian Express, 65 of 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh, 21 of 22 districts in Punjab, and 9 of 16 districts in Manipur are listed as “Category 1” and “Category 2” districts, which “represent high vulnerability to emerging Covid pandemic due to Omicron variant.”

“The population of these districts is at heightened risk of severe disease and adverse outcomes,” says the analysis.

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The vulnerability assessment of districts is based on two parameters: prior confirmed exposure to Covid (proportion of population infected), and vaccination coverage (both doses) as on December 30, 2021. Based on these two indicators, 714 districts across the country have been categorised into four categories.

* Category-1: Districts with prior confirmed Covid exposure less than 0.5% and vaccination (both doses) coverage less than 50%.

* Category-2: Districts with prior confirmed Covid exposure 0.5-2.5% and vaccination coverage less than 50%; or prior Covid exposure below 0.5% and vaccination above 50%.

* Category-3: Districts with prior confirmed Covid exposure above 2.5% and vaccination coverage less than 50%; or prior Covid exposure 0.5-2.5% and vaccination coverage above 50%.

* Category-4: Districts with prior Covid exposure above 2.5% and vaccination coverage above 50%.

The last two categories represent the less vulnerable districts. While 99 districts have been listed in Category-1, 212 are in Category-2, 299 in Category-3, and 104 in Category-4.

The 99 districts in Category-1 are spread across 15 states, with Uttar Pradesh accounting for the most (39 districts), followed by Jharkhand (13), Bihar (11) and Punjab (9). Manipur has two districts in this list.

Of the 212 districts in Category-2, 35 are in Madhya Pradesh, followed by UP (26), Bihar (22) and Gujarat (21). Twelve districts in Punjab and seven in Manipur are included in this category.

“Rapidly scale up the second dose of vaccination in Category-1 and Category-2 districts. This is most urgently for the Category-1 districts in particular,” says the report. “Ensure all round preparedness in Category-1 and Category-2 districts: health facility readiness (beds, ICUs), testing, HR (human resource), medicines, oxygen, as also home care support,” it says.

The other two poll-bound states of Uttarakhand and Goa don’t have any district listed in the two “vulnerable” categories.

Only two districts in UP (Lucknow and Kanpur Nagar) and three in Manipur (Imphal East, Imphal West and Kakching) have been listed as Category-4, representing less vulnerability. The Category-3 list has eight districts in UP (Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Gorakhpur, Bareilly, Jhansi, Rae Bareli, Meerut and Varanasi), one in Punjab (Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar) and two in Manipur (Chandel and Jiribam).

Of the 104 districts in Category-4, Maharashtra and Kerala account for 13 districts each, followed by Karnataka (9) and Arunachal Pradesh (8). And of the 299 districts in Category-3, 23 are in Assam, followed by Tamil Nadu (22).

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