Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the Covid cases numbers in the state appeared to have plateaued.
Chairing a virtual meeting to review the Covid and vaccine situation in the state, the CM, however, ordered strict enforcement of Covid appropriate protocols to prevent any superspreader events, along with increase in daily vaccination doses to two lakh, and a special control room to be set up for effective in-person monitoring of home isolation cases.
Citing figures on mortality and positivity, Capt Amarinder said the restrictions currently in place are showing results and the same needed to be implemented strictly, especially in Mohali and other big cities showing high rates of transmission and positivity.
He pointed out that the state’s positivity rate stood at 8.1 per cent, even though positivity in the age group of less than 40 years had come down from 54 per cent (September 2020) to 50 per cent (March 2021).
The curbs, coupled with strong efforts by all concerned, had helped reduce the percentage of mortality in the age group below 60 years from 50 per cent (September 2020) to 40 per cent (in March 2021), and should be strictly adhered to, the CM added.
However, Capt Amarinder repeated his demand that the Centre should allow vaccination for under 45 in areas with more cases, since the UK variant was infecting younger people more.
Punjab currently has three lakh Covishield and one lakh Covaxin in stock. Of the 75 lakh population in the age group of 75+, so far only 15.56 per cent have been vaccinated, the CM noted, stressing the need to create public awareness to end “vaccine hesitancy”.
Noting that even though there had been a decline in case fatality rate (CFR) — a ratio of deaths to the total number of cases recorded — almost 30 per cent deaths were taking place within two days of hospitalisation, the CM said, adding that around 84 per cent patients presented themselves at the hospital for the first time with severe symptoms, indicating delayed reporting. He also said that 90 per cent of the total deaths have been of persons with co-morbid conditions.
Pointing to the low contact tracing, Capt Amarinder asked the health department to aim for tracing 30 contacts per positive patient.
Earlier, in a presentation, health secretary Hussan Lal said that as against the 8.1 per cent overall positivity in Punjab, the district of Mohali was reporting 18 per cent. Along with Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala, the district is reported to have high transmission.
Dr KK Talwar, head of the state’s Covid task force, said while the curve seems to be flattening, caution was imperative, and anyone coming from a large gathering should quarantine at home for four days as a precautionary measure. The next few weeks were expected to show the same numbers, post which they should start declining, he added.