‘Expedite Vaccination’: Centre to 5 States Reporting COVID Surge

The letter requests the states to direct district officials to immediately undertake measures for maximum coverage.

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COVID-19
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The Union Health Ministry, on Tuesday, 23 February, wrote to the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh, asking them to expedite the vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers. These states, according to media reports, have shown a daily surge in new COVID-19 cases. Further, concerns over new strains of the virus are also emerging.

The object of expediting the vaccination process, according to PTI, is to confer immunity in the shortest possible time frame to combat the rising trend of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate in some districts.

MAHARASHTRA

According to PTI, in the letter addressed to Maharashtra, the Health Ministry has said that a rising trend of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate has been observed, over the past few days, in six districts:

  • Pune
  • Nagpur
  • Mumbai and Suburban
  • Amravati
  • Thane
  • Akola

Maharashtra is reportedly the worst affected of all states.

MADHYA PRADESH (MP)

In its letter to the MP government, the Health Ministry pointed out that a surge in the number of cases and positivity rate has been observed in three districts:

  • Indore
  • Bhopal
  • Betul

PUNJAB

In Punjab, the letter reportedly says that a rise in the number of cases and the positivity rate has been observed in three districts:

  • SBS Nagar
  • Kapurthala
  • Sri Muktsar Sahib

JAMMU AND KASHMIR, AND CHHATTISGARH

In Jammu and Kashmir, the increase in the number of cases and positivity rate has been observed in Pulwama.

Meanwhile, the same has been observed in the Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh.

What Does the Letter Say?

The letter by Additional Secretary in the Health Minister Manohar Agnani, according to PTI, says:

“Hence, it is advised that the vaccination of Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs) in these districts is expedited so as to confer immunity in the shortest possible time-frame, as they are also involved in containment, surveillance and management of COVID-19 cases.”

Further the letter requests the state governments to “kindly direct the district officials concerned to immediately undertake measures for the maximum coverage of the HCWs and FLWs with the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest.”

Background

India on Tuesday reported 10,584 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 1,10,16,434. Meanwhile, the death toll increased by 78 to 1,56,463.

Maharashtra has been recording over 6,000 fresh COVID-19 cases for the last few days, with the state touching almost 7,000 cases on Sunday, 21 February.

While a strict seven-day shutdown has been put in place in the Amravati district, night curfew has been imposed in Aurangabad city till 8 March. The government has also warned people to follow COVID-19 protocols or witness another lockdown in the state.

Meanwhile, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Sunday, 21 February, warned healthcare workers who skipped their COVID-19 vaccine shots that they will not be allowed quarantine leave if they get infected at a later stage, and that they will have to bear the cost of their own treatment.

(With inputs from NDTV and PTI.)

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