The overall COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country is optimistic and improving even as some states, including Kerala and Mizoram, are still reporting high positivity rates and are of concern, the government said on Thursday.
Urging people not to lower their guard, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said even though a consistent decline in coronavirus infections and daily positivity rate has been noted across all states, nearly 40 districts are still reporting an increase in weekly cases and thus, there is a need to maintain vigilance.
"The overall COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country is optimistic and cases seem to be settling, but if we look at it closely, then at state and district levels, there are data of concern," he said at a press conference, adding that the contraction of the pandemic is apparently consistent.
The daily positivity in Kerala is 29.57 per cent, it is still enormously high, Mizoram has 26.5 per cent positivity, Himachal has 11.79 per cent positivity, 12 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh and 17 per cent in Sikkim, so these are points of concern, Paul said.
"So we are clearly passing through a transition towards improvement, but this is not the time for us to be less vigilant. We cannot lower our guard. COVID appropriate behaviour has to be taken as the ‘new normal’ and that includes wearing masks, ventilated environment, social distancing and general discipline, which cannot be stopped," he asserted.
"Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put a logic in front of everyone that going into future, this is not the end of the virus, the virus is still around in the world and in the country, and virus being under pressure will also try to emerge fitter, smarter so that it could penetrate our defenses... Our strategies for containment, surveillance, genomic surveillance, tracking international passengers - now in a more softer way, but that vigilance must go on that is the message we bring to you," he said.
Joint Secretary in Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said on January 24, the daily positivity rate was recorded at 20.75 per cent, which has now decreased to 4.44 per cent, which indicates decreased spread of infection.
Warning against any lax in observing Covid-appropriate behaviour, he said 141 districts reported over 10 per cent weekly Covid positivity, while in 160 districts, it was between five to 10 per cent in the week ending February 9. There is progressive increase in districts with less than 5 per cent positivity, the number of which stands at 433 in the week ending February 9. It was 211 in the week ending January 19, he noted.
About the vaccine coverage, the government said 96 per cent of India's adults have been administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 78 per cent are fully vaccinated.
It also said 1.61 crore precaution doses have been administered to healthcare and frontline workers, and comorbid people aged 60 years and above so far. Also, 69 per cent of adolescents aged 15-18 years have been administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 14 per cent have received both the doses.
“In 16 states and Union territories (UTs), 100 per cent of the eligible population has been covered with first dose, while in five states/UTs, 96 to 99 per cent have been administered the first dose." “In six states and UTs, 100 per cent population has been covered with second dose,” Agarwal said. In Andhra Pradesh, 100 per cent of the beneficiaries in the 15-18 years age group have been given the first dose.
With inputs from PTI.