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COVID-19: Complete restriction on movement of people can be counterproductive, says WHO India head Roderico H Ofrin

FPJ Web Desk | Updated on: Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 05:23 PM IST

A passenger looks out from an emergency window as he sits inside a long distance train at a railway station in Mumbai on January 17, 2022.  | (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)
A passenger looks out from an emergency window as he sits inside a long distance train at a railway station in Mumbai on January 17, 2022. | (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)
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Even as COVID-19 cases are rising in India, WHO's India representative Roderico H Ofrin has said that blanket approaches such as complete restriction on the movement of people can be counterproductive in containing the virus in a country like India.

"WHO does not recommend a blanket travel ban, nor complete restriction of people's movement. In many ways, such blanket approaches can be counterproductive. India with its diversity in population distribution and geographic spread, the risk-based approach remains the wiser public health practice to counter a pandemic," Ofrin told news agency PTI.

"WHO advises governments to adopt nuanced, targeted and risk-based approaches which involve layered control measures, reducing the risks associated with travel and transmission," he added.

Ofrin suggested that if the government, as well as people, make effective use of existing tools such as COVID-19 vaccination, using masks, maintaining hand hygiene, physical distancing, ventilation of indoor spaces and crowd avoidance, lockdowns will not be required.

Meanwhile, with 2,38,018 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,76,18,271, which includes 8,891 cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.

The active cases have increased to 17,36,628, the highest in 230 days, while the death toll has climbed to 4,86,761 with 310 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.

There has been an 8.31 per cent increase in Omicron cases since Monday, the ministry said.

The active cases comprise 4.62 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has decreased to 94.09 per cent, the ministry said.

An increase of 80,287 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 14.43 per cent while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 14.92 per cent, according to the ministry.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,53,94,882, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.29 per cent.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published on: Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 05:23 PM IST