Govt Cautions People of Covid Surge During Festival, Wedding Season

“Please watch your October, November, December,” Health Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal warned people on Thursday about the threat of COVID-19 resurgence during the coming festival and wedding season, and advised them to avoid crowded places and celebrate festivals virtually. The government cautioned that the second wave of the pandemic is not over, and though the situation is plateauing, the country is still reporting as high as 20,000-odd new infections every day.

“We cannot take the current stable situation for granted. We have to be mindful of the fact that the pandemic is going on and can take an untoward turn if we are not careful,” an official said at a joint media briefing.

On the vaccination front, Dr VK Paul, NITI Aayog member, said that preparations are underway to introduce the Zydus Cadila’s Covid vaccine under the national vaccination programme. “It is only a matter of a short period of time,” he said.

Paul said that since Zydus Cadila’s vaccine has to be administered through an applicator, the government is working on its logistics.

“Zydus Cadila vaccine is not administered using conventional syringe or a needle but through an applicator, which will be used for 1st time in country. We are working on the trainers and its logistic issues,” said Paul.

The government said that Kerala recorded 50 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country last week. Kerala has over over lakh active cases currently and the figure in four other states is ranging between 10,000 and 50,000.

It said five states — Mizoram, Kerala, Sikkim, Manipur and Meghalaya — are reporting a weekly positivity rate of over five per cent. Thirty-four districts across nine states and union territories are reporting a weekly positivity rate of more than 10 per cent, according to the government.

Twenty eight districts across 12 states and UTs are reporting a weekly positivity rate between 5 and 10 per cent.

According to the health ministry, Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar and Sikkim have vaccinated 100% of its population with the first dose of vaccine. The government said 71 per cent of India’s adult population have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 27 per cent have got both doses.

Listing its preparations to tackle any surge in coronavirus infections, the government said 8.36 lakh hospital beds are currently available in the country for COVID-19 patients, in addition to nearly one million isolation beds in dedicated care centres.

It said 4.86 oxygen-supported beds and 1.35 lakh ICU beds are available. “We are prepared to face a daily surge of 4.5-5 lakh COVID-19 cases,” an official said.

The official said there is no issue of vaccine availability in the country now. With 22,431 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,38,94,312, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data updated on Thursday.

The death toll climbed to 4,49,856 with 318 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

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