Lately there has been an increase in the number of novel coronavirus cases in Jammu and Kashmir.
As per officials, J&K saw a 40% “surge” in weekly cases with travellers contributing to 2/3rd of it. Travellers account for 50% of the recorded fresh infections in Srinagar district which has remained top of the ladder for highest cases hitherto. The “surge” in the cases comes at a time when alarm grows over what appears to be the beginning of India’s second Covid-19 wave. India is witnessing a resurgence of the virus cases with an average of 14,300 daily cases, marking an approximate 21% week-on-week increase in the new cases, informed Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, while chairing a high-level meeting to review the public health response to the virus.
He asked all governments including J&K, to closely monitor the trajectory of the infections to prevent increase in the cases and “assiduously expedite vaccination of priority groups in accordance to the guidelines in this regard.”
The direction comes as the centre lifted some key restrictions to speed up vaccination and expand the parameters of who is eligible for inoculation. From March 1, the drive will be open to people above 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities.
The government has also capped the vaccine at upto Rs 250 at private hospitals and it can be administered to all those who can afford them.
The move will open up the vaccination drive both in terms of private sector involvement, and provide access to vulnerable groups other than health care and frontline workers. There is also a need to cover all health care and frontline workers. So far, as per official data, 67% of healthcare workers and 59% of frontline workers have been vaccinated during the initial stages of the vaccine roll-out.
It is important that more and more people are equipped in the face of a race against time amid a possible second wave.
The government has been advised by the Cabinet Secretary to ardently promote Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, improve the rate of testing especially in districts that are falling short of target quotas, increase the share of RTPCR tests vis-à-vis RATs, monitor mutant strain for early hotspot identification, adopt refocused and stringent containment strategies and undertake priority vaccination with provisions of geographically targeted vaccination in clusters witnessing a surge in the cases. All measures needed to be taken without fail. A collective effort is needed to put brakes on the spread of the virus and ensure that there is no return to the situation where the last resort of lockdown is taken by the government.