For the last few days now, as data shows, covid-19 is rearing its head again. Though the numbers are not alarming, the situation should warrant a rise in vigilance levels. The prime objective of the government should be to stop crowds from gathering at busy places. The reason is that the R Value – or reproductive value – of Covid-19 is more than one in several states or UTs including Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Not only in parts of India, there is also an uptick in the cases in the US, Japan, Southeast Asia and parts of Europe. Random changes in the virus’s genetic code are threatening to undo the progress made in containing the pandemic’s spread.
There is enough evidence that the current crop of vaccines limit the number of people falling gravely ill.
Earlier this week, the Home Secretary asked the UT Administrations including J&K to remain in a state of readiness to mitigate future surges, besides undertaking a combined strategy of test-track-treat COVID cases, micro containment of emerging hot spots, speedy vaccination, enforcement of COVID appropriate behaviour, and ramping up of COVID dedicated medical facilities for successful containment of the disease.
As many as 5,62,000 vaccine doses are available with J&K, as per officials. Efforts should be made to achieve the set target of covering 60% of the population by this month.
Dedicated focus must be given on timely inoculation of 2nd dose, besides ensuring 100% coverage of the 18-44 age group with the first dose, the Lt Governor rightly asked the officials during a review meeting.
There is a need for assessing the surveillance activities being conducted in the districts. There is also a need to scale up the surveillance exercises besides contact tracing which must be done at a 1:15 ratio to break the spread chain of the pathogen.
As per officials more than 51 lakh population has been inoculated with 1st dose till date. As per officials the remaining districts viz Kupwara, Srinagar, Doda, Kathua, Reasi, and Udhampur which were yet to achieve saturation of 1st dose in 45 and above age group are also nearing the 100% coverage. Put another way round, a significant number of people, most vulnerable to the lethal ways of the virus, are still unprotected against the pathogen.
Besides increasing vaccination, there is a need to guard against complacency and laxity, which creeps in as positivity declines. Efforts must be stepped up to prevent any probable future surge.