With Punjab left with only five days of supply (5.7 lakh COVID vaccine doses) at the current levels of vaccinating 85,000-90,000 persons a day, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged the Centre to share the schedule for supply of vaccines with the states over the next quarter based on their confirmed supply orders.
Hoping that the Centre would send fresh batches of vaccine supply soon, the chief minister said that if the state is able to meet its target of 2 lakh vaccines a day, then its current supplies will last only three days.
He said he had written to the prime minister and the Union health minister to give confirmed supply schedules.
Despite being a slow-starter in vaccination, Punjab has vaccinated more than 16 lakh persons, at an average of around 85,000-90,000 per day, he said during a video conference convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss the COVID situation.
The meeting was attended by chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states, as well as senior party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi.
Captain Amarinder said people in Punjab were still not coming out in large numbers for the vaccination due to the massive anger prevailing against the Government of India on the issue of farm laws.
Punjab’s COVID Cases
Since Punjab has majority population among the agriculture community, even the common man is affected by the farmers' agitation, he said, adding "this anger is impacting the vaccination drive."
He said his government is undertaking an extensive media campaign to address the misinformation regarding COVID and vaccination hesitancy.
Ranking 18th in the country at present in terms of cases reported, Punjab is showing around eight percent positivity, with an average of around 3,000 cases per days for the past 15 days, the chief minister apprised Gandhi.
The number of cases is slightly stable, he pointed out, adding that "this shows that the steps taken in the last three weeks are in the right direction".
Even in the graphs put up by health ministry in prime minister's review meeting, the "curve appears to be flattened over the past fortnight," he said, disclosing that the state currently has around 27,200 active cases with recovery rate of 87.1 percent.
‘Punjab Has Been Reporting Cases Faithfully’
Thanking Sonia Gandhi for giving the opportunity "to discuss and learn from each other on Covid management," the chief minister, however, said deaths are a concern for Punjab, with around 50-60 daily deaths with a little under two percent Case Fatality Rate (CFR) in the second surge.
Overall, CFR is 2.77 percent for all reported cases since March 2020, he added.
Pointing out that on 9 April, a total of 3,459 persons tested positive out of 41,347 samples tested and 56 deaths were reported, he said the high death rate has been on account of late reporting to hospitals, high comorbidity (non-communicable diseases).
Also, Punjab has reported all its cases very faithfully, he added.
Noting that high positivity is being seen in the younger population and as per reports received from the NCDC and the IGIB, more than 80 percent samples have been found to be positive for the more contagious and virulent UK variant, the chief minister shared with the Congress President the various measures taken by his government to combat the spread.
These, he said, included complete ban on political gatherings till 29 April, imposition of night curfew across all districts from 9 pm to 5 am, restrictions on numbers in outdoor and indoor social gatherings and in cinema halls and malls, and closure of all educational institutions and anganwadi centres, with school exams being postponed.