By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 5 May: Uttarakhand continues to be counted among the states with highest positivity rates of Corona in the country. The average positivity rate in Uttarakhand for the week 28 April to 4 May stands at a very high 17.5. Even remote hill districts like Chamoli (22.3) and Pauri Garhwal at 24.6 continue to report very high rates of positive cases. Nainital, with 28.6 percent positive rate, continues to lead and yet the testing for Corona has not been ramped up. The testing in Nainital continues to be very low. In the week beginning 28 April and ending on 4 May, the total number of tests conducted in Nainital was just 17,007 whereas the tests conducted in Dehradun during this week numbered 64,377 and, in Haridwar, the total tests conducted were 84,675. Haridwar continues to show the lowest positivity rates at 6.8 percent for the week, while Dehradun continued to show a very high positivity rate of 25 percent.
Obviously, the partial lockdown termed as Covid Curfew has not been effective enough to break the chain of spread and it appears that a strict lockdown for at least a fortnight might be required to curb the spread of the pandemic. However, the government seems hesitant to impose a full lockdown despite such a high positivity rate. It seems that the decision to impose lockdowns in the state may continue to rest on district magistrates.
Today’s health bulletin released by the health department reveals that 7783 fresh cases of Corona infection were reported in the state in the past 24 hours with 127 deaths. Dehradun continued to lead with 2771 cases from a total of 10,613 tests, followed by Udham Singh Nagar with 1043 out of merely 2776 tests, which would mean a positivity rate of 37 percent. Why so few tests are being conducted should be matter of great concern for all concerned, especially the government. In the entire state, 43,489 samples were sent to laboratories for testing today. Given the high positivity rate, testing needs to be ramped up by a significant level but it remains to be seen whether this will be done in the coming days.
Sources said that the majority of the state’s ministers and a significant number of senior bureaucrats are in favour of a complete statewide lockdown for at least a fortnight to break the chain of the pandemic spread. An informal meeting was scheduled to be held between the CM and his cabinet colleagues according to sources in the government to discuss the lockdown today.
On a positive note, the vaccination drive gathered some momentum today with 42,268 persons being vaccinated, taking the total number of those vaccinated partially in the state so far to 17,01,989, and those vaccinated fully to 480,484. Sources said there was enough availability of vaccines to continue the vaccination drive for the next few days at the same rate.
By Arun Pratap Singh