LIKE the rest of the country, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed the fresh surge in coronavirus cases. The total tally has now gone past 1.28 lakh infections. Active Covid-19 cases in the union territory has already crossed 1,000 again. The death toll has reached 1,977. Srinagar continues to lead with upwards of 50 cases daily.
The renewed spike has come after the numbers had drastically declined by the end of last year. Coupled with increase in number of recoveries, the active cases had plunged below 1000 mark by January 28.
The government is trying to combat the fresh spread by vaccinating more and more people. So far nearly 4.40 lakh people have been administered jabs. This includes 77 per cent of the healthcare workers, 78 per cent of the frontline workers and 12.28 per cent of the elderly population and patients with comorbidities. The effort is to extend the administration of the vaccine to the remaining healthcare and frontline workers. And to this end, the number of COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) has also been gradually increased to 3,034, including 34 private facilities. The government is developing vaccination capacity of three lakh doses per day, with the jabs being administered for free at all government CVCs and against the payment of Rs 250 per dose at private centres.
According to AIIMS director Randeep Guleria the vaccine should be able to give protection from the infection for eight to ten months. Guleria also said that no major side effects of the vaccine have been recorded so far.
But the problem is also that the supply of vaccines is still very limited and so the government needs to prioritise. The groups most at risk like healthcare and frontline workers, and also elderly people with comorbities have the first right on vaccines. The highest mortality was seen among people with co-morbidities and older age groups.
As for the rest, it will take time to extend the vaccine coverage. So, people need to exercise caution and observe Standard Operating Procedure. According to experts, the biggest reason for the surge in cases is that people feel the pandemic is over and they are not following COVID-appropriate behaviour. People have been asked to put off non-essential travel for some more time. Also, the government has to get strict with the people who don’t wear masks. A better enforcement of the SOP and the cooperation by the people shall go a long way to curb the spread of fresh infection. And with vaccination also available now, the situation can be brought under control sooner.
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