Government links unlocking districts to low positivity rate, high vaccine coverage
Even as Covid-19 cases are declining and June is likely to see less infections, the unlock has to be gradual and patient, accompanied with rise in vaccination drive, the government said, setting out guidelines that are intended to keep the disease in control. The Centre suggested that for sustained opening of districts, drop in cases and testing need to be augmented by three goals — average seven-day test positivity of less than 5%, over 70% vaccination coverage among elderly and above 45 with co-morbidities, and community ownership of care and Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
down for 6 to 8 weeks, ICMR chief says
“We are moving in the right direction because of testing and containment at the district level. Nevertheless, this is not a sustainable solution. We have to find a mechanism for how to ease our containment and lockdown and that has to be done very moderately and very slowly,”told the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) DG Dr Balram Bhargava. Officials stressed India has enough capacity to ramp up vaccination in the next few months.
Measures such as testing, contact-tracing, creation of micro-containment zones and community response in terms of wearing masks, physical distancing and providing support for treatment needs to be maintained without any fault, they said.
“From whatever we know from possible scenarios presented by eminent people, we do know that Covid-19 cases will decline gradually. June will be much better, stabilised but concerns are when we open up how do we behave because the virus has not gone forever,” Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul said.
Bhargava said that,“The unlocking has to be done very patiently guided by the vaccination drive that has been done for the vulnerable groups... Just have some patience. By mid-July or early August, we will have more than enough doses to vaccinate up to a crore people in a day. Our objective is to cover the entire population by December and that we should be able to do it efficiently”.
The daily Covid-19 cases have declined significantly after touching a high of over 4.14 lakh cases on May 6. On Monday, around 1.27 lakh new cases were registered from across the country, whereas the active caseload now stands at around 19 lakh cases.