NEW DELHI : Stating that India has noted a sharp surge in Covid-19 cases with active infections crossing 9.5 lakh on Wednesday, the health ministry said the case positivity rate rose from 1.1 per cent on December 30 to 11.05 per cent on January 12. India recorded 1,94,720 fresh Covid-19 cases and 442 deaths in the 24 hours ending 8 am Wednesday. The active cases mounted to 9,55,319, the highest in 211 days. The daily positivity rate increased to 11.05 per cent.
In other news, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday stated that over two crore children in the age group 15-18 years have been vaccinated against Covid-19 so far. He lauded the “sense of responsibility” of the country’s youth and said it has manifested in the quick pace of vaccination. The drive to inoculate teenagers had begun on January 3.
Meanwhile, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said that Covid-19 cases have started coming down in Mumbai and “we will soon see the same trend” in the national capital. He added, “Plateauing of hospital admissions is an indication that the wave may have peaked. We may see a decline in cases in two to three days.”
Mumbai’s daily cases have been dropping since January 7, with the city registering 11,647 cases on Tuesday. Health Minister Rajesh Tope, however, told The Indian Express, “It is too early to say that the curve has started plateauing or flattening.”
With shortage of healthcare workers looming as more and more test positive — including at least 750 doctors across six major government hospitals in Delhi — doctors will not be required to quarantine after finishing their duties in Covid-19 wards, as per guidelines of the Union Health Ministry.
As per the new guidelines released on Sunday night, under the head, “Regular quarantine of healthcare workers after performing duty in Covid-19 areas”, it is stated that any quarantine or isolation of healthcare workers other than “stipulated above” is not warranted. The doctors say this could lead to cross-transmission of the infection. “Our hospital was treating only Covid-19 patients during the previous wave. This meant that the entire staff was treating only those who already had the infection. Also, there was a five-seven day gap after Covid-19 duty where the staff remained in isolation, thereby, reducing the risk of transmitting the infection to the others,” said a resident doctor from Lok Nayak hospital on condition of anonymity.
On the first-day of the booster dose drive, a total of 49,307 beneficiaries, including 10,698 in Mumbai, got inoculated across the state out of the 9.3 lakh individuals who are eligible for a booster shot in Maharashtra. Though the response was lukewarm on the first day, officials said they are hopeful that within the next 3-4 days, the footfall of beneficiaries will increase.
Only fully vaccinated beneficiaries who had received their second vaccine dose by April 10, 2021, are eligible to take the booster shot, which the Centre has termed the ‘precautionary dose’. Due to the nine-month criteria, only a tiny fraction of frontline and healthcare workers qualify for the booster shot.