Covid situation worsening, whole country at risk: Govt

New Delhi

The coronavirus situation is “turning from bad to worse” and is a huge cause of worry especially for some states, the Centre said on Tuesday, stressing the whole country is at risk and nobody should be complacent.

It said 8 of the top 10 Covid-19 high-burden districts of India are from Maharashtra and that Delhi, taken as one district, is also on the list. At a press conference, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the 10 districts with maximum active Covid cases are Pune (59,475), Mumbai (46,248), Nagpur (45,322), Tha­ne (35,264), Nashik (26,553), Aurangabad (21,282), Benga­l­uru Urban (16,259), Nanded (15,171), Delhi (8,032), Ahmednagar (7,952). Though technically speaking, Delhi has ma­ny districts, but it has been taken as one district, he said.

NITI Aayog member (Health) VK Paul said, "Covid-19 situation is turning from bad to worse. In last few weeks, especially in some states, it is a huge cause for worry. No state, no part of the country or district should be complacent.”

"We are facing an increasingly severe and intense situation, more so surely in some districts. But the whole country is potentially at risk and so all efforts to contain and save lives should be taken.

“Hospital and ICU preparations have to be readied. If the cases increase rapidly, the healthcare system would be overwhelmed, Paul said.

About surge in case positivity rates, Bhushan said Maharashtra last week had an average positivity rate of 23%, followed by Punjab 8.82%, Chhattisgarh 8.24%, MP 7.82%, Tamil Nadu 2.5%, Karnataka 2.45%, Gujarat 2.22%, and Delhi 2.04%.

About door-to-door vaccination in Maharashtra, Bhushan said till date, the Centre has not received any such request from the state government about it.

The average national positivity rate during last week was 5.65%. All states and UTs are reporting a surge in cases and there is a need to significantly and exponentially increase the Covid-19 tests. The proportion of RT-PCR tests need to be increased too, Bhushan said.

On variants of the virus, the health secretary said 10 labs have done genome sequencing of 11,064 samples since December of which the UK variant was detected in 807 samples, South African variant in 47 and Brazilian variant in one.

A total of 6,11,13,354 vaccine doses were administered. About 81,74,916 healthcare workers got the first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and 51,88,747 the second dose. As many as 89,44,742 frontline workers got the first dose and 37,11,221 the second dose.

Bhushan said 48.39%, Telangana tops the list of states with the highest vaccine doses in private facilities. Delhi is second with 43.11% vaccinations in private facilities. From April 1, people above 45 years would be eligible for vaccination. They can register themselves in the CoWIN platform, the Aarogya Setu app or go for onsite registrations which would start after 3 pm, the health ministry said.

Virus Tidbits

-- 7 vaccines candidates in clinical trials, says Vardhan

-- Health Minister Vardhan takes second dose of vaccine

-- Punjab CM extends Covid curbs till April 10

-- Gujarat: Covid-19 cases in IIMA rise to 70

Fine flyers not wearing masks properly: DGCA

Aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday told airports to increase surveillance to ensure Covid-19 norms are followed and consider imposing spot fines, with the help of police authorities, on passengers who are found not wearing masks properly and not maintaining social distancing. In a circular issued on Tuesday, the regulator said, "During the surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that complia­nce (of COVID-19 protocols) is not satisfactory." "All airport operators, therefore, are requested to ensure that the instructions on Covid-19 protocol from the standpoint of wearing face mask properly, covering nose and mouth, as well as maintaining social distance norms within the airport premises are followed scrupulously," it said.

Farooq down despite vaccination

New Delhi

Former J&K CM and National Conference patriarch President Dr Farooq Abdullah (83), also a Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, was down with Covid-19 in Srinagar on Tuesday, the day he should have gone for the second dose of its vaccine after comp­leting 28 days of the first inoculation on March 2. His son Omar Abdullah, also a former CM, broke the news of his father isolating himself at home in Srinagar after testing positive for Covid-19. Omar tweeted: "My father has tested positive for Covid-19 & is showing some symptoms. I will be self-isolating along with other family members until we get ourselves tested. I request anyone who has come in to contact with us over the last few days to take all the mandated precautions.” PM Modi was the first to tweet extending his best wishes for a speedy recovery to Dr Abdullah. In a tweet to Omar, he said: “Praying for the good health and speedy recovery of Dr Farooq Abdullah Ji. Also praying for your and the entire family’s good health @OmarAbdullah.” —Our Bureau

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