The Health Ministry said that the Covid-19 cases continue to show a huge surge in India, with the weekly positivity rate touching almost the 16% mark in the last week. In 515 districts across the country, more than a 5 percent positivity rate has been reported in the last week. The third wave triggered by the highly infectious Omicron variant has spread to almost all parts of the country, said Health Ministry on Thursday.
Despite the surge, due to high vaccination uptake, there have been fewer hospitalisations and deaths. “The pandemic situation shows that the third surge is now spreading in almost all parts of the country. It is also clear that the deaths are low. Vaccination has acted as a shield…the mortality is significantly low. However, the overall positivity of 16% is quite high. There are some states with 50% percent positivity (Goa)…the virus is spreading rapidly. Vaccination and masking have to be adopted. We cannot lower the guard,” Dr. V K Paul, head of India’s Covid-19 task force, said.
Due to an increase in weekly positivity rate in the week ending January 20 as compared to the weekly positivity rate reported in the week ending January 13, the Health Ministry raised concerns to six states: Maharashtra (20.35% vs 22.12%); Karnataka (6.78% vs 15.12%); Tamil Nadu (10.70% vs 20.50%); Kerala (12.28% vs 32.34%); Delhi (21.70% vs 30.53%); and Uttar Pradesh (3.32% vs 6.33%). “These are the states with whom we are in continuous contact and we are reviewing the situation. We have sent central teams to these states, who have visited various districts. The health administration of the states has been briefed,” Bhushan said.
Dr. Balaram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research said, “The overall test performance in the country is being maintained at a level comparable with the second wave. What is important to note is that we have noted an increasing uptake of home tests… In the whole of 2021, we saw only 3,000 home tests that were used. And, in these 20 days, we have seen 2 lakh home tests which have been used. Few districts are witnessing a dip in test numbers and have been encouraged to ramp it up.”