By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 20 Jun: Number of new cases of Corona in Uttarakhand only seem to be rising everyday. When inter-state travel had been allowed last month by the Union Home Ministry and migrants were rushing to their native places across the state, an expected surge was seen in the number of cases. However, then the government had claimed that the number of new cases was due to migrants returning in big numbers and once most of the migrants would return, the graph of new cases would come down. This has however not happened at all! While the number of migrants returning to the state has certainly come down not necessarily because all those wanting to return have returned already, the number of new cases continue to rise! What should be a matter of serious concern for the state government and the administration as well as for the public is the fact that more and more such cases of Corona are being detected in people without any travel history or contact tracing! It means that in such cases, it could not be found how these persons had contacted the virus! This is generally the first indication of possibility of community transmission of the deadly virus!
Just to cite a latest example, out of over hundred cases detected till 2 pm in the state on Saturday, no contact tracing or travel history was identified in case of 16 new cases in Dehradun and 21 in Tehri.
For past several days, such cases are being detected regularly where no travel history or contact could be traced. However it is true that majority of cases being detected do have either a travel history of Delhi, Mumbai and some other highly infected hotspot cities or are of those whose primary contacts had travel history. The exceptions have been medical staff including doctors at Deendayal Upadhyay Coronation Hospital, and other hospitals and also due to some mismanagement in management of Covid patients at Covid hospitals. On Friday itself more than 28 medical staff including several doctors were detected to be Corona positive in Dehradun. For a small state like Uttarakhand over 2278 cases detected till date is not a small number given the fact that some states have been able to bring down the graph of new cases already! Himachal has one fourth the number of cases compared to Uttarakhand. Also Uttarakhand has now already seen 27 Covid related deaths so far!
The first thing that the state needs to do in the present situation is survey of as much population as possible and raising the number of Corona tests per day. Of course, on Friday, an indication in this respect was given by the CM. The CM had said that the capacity of daily testing in three major labs located in Dehradun, Haldwani and Srinagar (Pauri) would be raised to 2,400 tests per day. The capacity needs to be fully utilised every day and at the same time also ensuring early results of the tests as it has been found in several cases across the state that the persons having got tested and awaiting their results continued to mingle with people leading to spread of the virus! It may be recalled that number of pending reports has already crossed over 4,300 as on Saturday!
Laxity has also been seen in the Police and other administrative personnel in ensuring physical distancing in the markets and other public places. There should be no hurry to open educational institutions, especially the schools till the graph of new cases actually goes down significantly! Children can be particularly vulnerable to infection and it is not easy to ensure social or physical distancing between them!