Centre alerts Punjab over Covid-19 upsurge; 703 new cases & 10 deaths

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People wait outside the vaccination room while while server wasn't working at Civil Hospital in Ludhiana. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) Tuesday said that Punjab was still among the five states that accounted for 80.33 per cent of the new cases adding to the country’s caseload, apart from Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat.

According to data released by the Union ministry Tuesday, while Maharahstra added maximum (6,397) new cases on Monday, it was followed by Kerala (1,938), Punjab (633), Tamil Nadu (474) and Gujarat (427).

The Covid surge in Punjab continued Tuesday with 730 new cases.

Response better on second day of phase 2 of vaccination drive

However, the response to phase 2 of the vaccination drive for senior citizens (60 or above) and 45-59 years with co-morbidities, was a little better on the second day with 2,769 persons getting the first dose. This was more than the double the persons vaccinated on the first day of the drive, Monday (1,127).

“The Centre is continuously engaging with states and UTs manifesting higher caseload of active cases and those reporting a rise in the daily new Covid cases. States/UTs have been advised to maintain a continued rigorous vigil for containing the spread of Covid-19. Need for effective testing, comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation of positive cases and quick quarantine of close contacts…,” said the ministry in a statement.

As per the data, eight states are displaying an upward trajectory in daily cases: Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Haryana and Karnataka.

Punjab’s growing cases

Also, five states cumulatively accounting for 84.16 per cent of total active cases in the country are: Kerala (28.61 per cent), Karnataka (3.47 per cent), Punjab (2.88 per cent), Tamil Nadu (2.38 per cent), Maharashtra (46.82 per cent) and rest (15.84 per cent).

Punjab is also among the six states having weekly positivity rate higher than national average: against national average of 2 per cent, Punjab’s weekly positivity rate is 2.37 per cent. Other states with higher positivity rate than national average are: Gujarat (2.04 per cent), Chandigarh (3.16 per cent), Goa (3.90 per cent), Kerala (4.57 per cent) and Maharashtra (10per cent).

Punjab’s high Covid casualties have also been flagged again by the Union ministry and according to the data; 86 per cent of new deaths have been reported in six states. Maharashtra saw maximum single day deaths on Monday (30) followed by Punjab (18), Kerala (13), Chhattisgarh (7), Tamil Nadu and Karnataka (5 each).

But still performing poorly as compared to other states

Punjab however is still performing poorly in vaccination drive, as compared to other states. As per the cumulative data of the total doses (first and second combined) administered by the states/UTs, released by the MoH&FW on Tuesday (as on March 2 at 7 AM), Punjab has vaccinated 2 lakh beneficiaries (including 1.61 lakh with first dose and 38,683 with second dose).
The neighboring Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir have performed better than Punjab and vaccinated 2.99 lakh and 2.68 lakh beneficiaries, respectively. However, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh have vaccinated lesser beneficiaries than Punjab. In four other states — Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat — which are adding maximum new cases along with Punjab, all of them have vaccinated way more beneficiaries than Punjab.

730 new cases, 10 more deaths

As per Tuesday’s latest Covid bulletin, 730 new cases were reported in Punjab alongwith 10 deaths in past 24 hours.

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