INDIA recorded 26,291 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, its highest single-day spike in 85 days, taking the country’s infection tally to around one crore fourteen lakh. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed one crore mark ion December 19. The country has also witnessed 118 more fatalities taking the number of deaths to 1.59 lakh.
There has been sudden spike in the infections over the past five days taking the active caseload to 2,19,262. At the same time, the recovery rate has dropped to 96.68 per cent. Three states— Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab— account for 77 percent of the total active cases.
This has brought lockdown back in vogue in some places. Nagpur is the first city to go under lockdown in the second covid wave. Only essential services will remain open in the city. Other places are also mulling the lockdown. However, the government of Maharashtra which has witnessed some surge recently, has baulked at imposing fresh lockdown saying it was not the answer to the rising COVID-19 cases. The state government has decided to make restrictions stricter. There is now also pressure increasing on the government to get more people vaccinated.
India has so far administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 2.14 crore people till March 12. However, this figure represents only 1.58 per cent of India’s 135.5 crore population. At this rate, India will take 12.6 years to vaccinate 70 percent population. Now the government is trying to speed up the process. The next in line among the high priority groups are those above 50 years of age. Union health ministry has announced that at least 2 million vaccine doses were administered across the country, making it the highest in a single day so far. Now the government plans to take it to 5 million a day. To make it possible vaccination centres are being expanded to 100,000 across the country.
The urgency of vaccination can’t be overemphasised. Last year, the extended Covid lockdown battered the economy, leaving lakhs of people unemployed. The country can hardly afford fresh surge in the cases forcing the government to go for yet another lockdown. So the vaccination has to pick up in right earnest. In Kashmir too, there’s a dire need that more and more people are vaccinated. On Monday, J&K recorded 94 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 1.28 lakh, while no fresh death was reported. Srinagar district recorded the highest number of 49 cases. But the vaccination is not yet commensurate with the spread of the infection. It is time that the government speeds up the inoculation drive and sets up more vaccination centres. The Valley needs to be Covid-free for the businesses to return to normal and tourism to pick up in the warmer seasons ahead.
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