Reigning in Virus

CHAIRING the 23rd meeting of Group of Ministers (GOM) on COVID-19 on Thursday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan  said that 146 districts have reported no new case of the Covid-19 infection in the last seven days. Reviewing the pandemic situation in the country, Vardhan said 146 of India’s 718 districts have recorded no new cases for a week, and  that fewer than 12,000 cases were reported in the past 24 hours. Similarly, a meagre 0.46 per cent of the 1.73 lakh active COVID-19 cases is on ventilators, 2.20 per cent is in the ICU and 3.02 per cent is on oxygen support. This has prompted the minister  to declare that “India has successfully contained the pandemic”,
Ever since the virus broke out in March last year, India has come a long way in so far as its upgradation of the health infrastructure to tackle the disease. The current testing capacity is 12 lakh tests per day, and with everyday fresh infections are  falling markedly. This has given the government confidence to  allow cinema halls and theatres to seat more than 50 percent of capacity and let all types of exhibition halls to operate. This is a huge recovery for a country that has recorded the highest number of cases in the world after the United States.
In Jammu and Kashmir too, the number of fresh infections has drastically reduced. On Wednesday, 77 fresh Covid cases in the union territory took the tally to 1,24,234  while one more fatality pushed the death toll to 1,931. However, Srinagar district recorded the highest number of fresh cases at 23, including 12 travellers, followed by 16 in Jammu district.  Eight districts — Bandipora, Rajouri, Doda, Samba, Kishtwar, Poonch, Reasi and Ramban — did not report any fresh cases. Ten others recorded cases in single digits. Now the number of active cases in the former state stands at 1,050 while 1,21,253 patients have recovered. This has led health experts to surmise that the herd immunity might already have set in across parts of India and also in J&K.
The situation is getting further better with India commencing its vaccination drive against novel coronavirus on 16 January. So far  2 million health care workers have been inoculated, with the aim to reach 300 million people by July-August. This will go a long way to rid the country and the world of the pandemic that has wrought havoc with the economy, livelihoods and the lives of people. But alongside the vaccination people will need to continue observing precautions. With new Covid-19 strains emerging from nowhere, it is hardly the time to let the guard down.

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