Covid cases hit new high in Chandigarh, but no new curbs

1,338 people tested positive in Chandigarh in record high on Thursday, but adviser says more restrictions not required at this moment of time
During the review meeting, the Chandigarh administrator directed officials to strictly check overcrowding and mask violations in public places, such as markets and apni mandis. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
During the review meeting, the Chandigarh administrator directed officials to strictly check overcrowding and mask violations in public places, such as markets and apni mandis. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Published on Jan 14, 2022 03:24 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, Chandigarh

Even as Chandigarh’s daily Covid-19 cases mounted to a new high of 1,338 on Thursday, the UT administration decided against imposing fresh restrictions, such as weekend curfew, and instead allowed relaxations for restaurants.

In the Covid review meeting, chaired by UT administrator Banwari Lal Purohit, all restriction options were discussed, but the administration decided against imposing any more.

On the other hand, it was decided that the hotels, restaurants, cafés, coffee shops and other eating places will be allowed to function up to 10pm, and their kitchens can remain open up to 11pm. But no home delivery will be allowed after midnight.

UT adviser Dharam Pal said, “We are monitoring the situation very carefully. In the meeting, there was a consensus that additional restrictions are not required at this moment of time. The high number of cases is also due to increase in testing. The positivity rate marginally dipped from yesterday and we have adequate health infrastructure in place for hospitalisations. We are already stepping up our preparations if these parameters show an increase.”

Disabled, pregnant employees can work from home

The administration exempted persons with disabilities and pregnant women employed in government offices from attending office, but will be required to work from home.

Operators of buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws have been directed to only allow passengers as per seating capacity, else they will face strict action.

Testing rate increased

Appreciating UT administration’s effort to arrest the spread of Covid by increasing testing three-fold, Purohit hoped that the early detection followed by quick isolation will be helpful in checking increase in cases.

Currently, over 5,000 people are being tested a day, compared to 1,200 to 1,500 earlier.

Ordering strict enforcement of Covid guidelines and restrictions, Purohit said intensive containment and active surveillance should continue, unabated.

Thrust on vaccination

Expressing satisfaction over UT’s vaccination coverage, the administrator directed 100% vaccination of all eligible beneficiaries at the earliest.

He said at a review meeting with states and union territories, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared that Chandigarh had achieved 125% first-dose and 97% second-dose coverage.

Besides, in the 15-18 years category, 50.38% population had been jabbed.

‘Public must not lower guard’

Purohit said currently common public perception was that Covid infection in the ongoing wave was mild. “But lessons learnt from the past experiences were that the pandemic scenario was dynamic and residents should not lower their guard,” he added.

Stating that it had been brought to his notice that Covid protocols were being violated in markets and apni mandis, he directed the DGP to intensify challaning.

He cautioned that negligence in enforcement will not be tolerated and directed all concerned to strictly check overcrowding and mask violations.

To tackle the issue of incorrect contact details provided by people during testing, leading to cumbersome contact-tracing process, the administrator directed the health secretary to resolve the matter by issuing strict instructions to the testing centres.

Cases dip slightly in Mohali, Panchkula

While Covid cases hit a new record in Chandigarh; Mohali and Panchkula saw their daily tally decreasing slightly.

Compared to its all-time high of 734 cases on Wednesday, Panchkula logged 701 cases on Thursday. Similarly, Mohali reported 917 cases, lower than 974 the day before.

However, Mohali recorded another Covid fatality, fifth this month. The patient was a 79-year-old man from Kharar. As many as 11 tricity residents have succumbed to the virus in January so far. Chandigarh has witnessed five deaths and Panchkula one.

Positivity rate rises in Mohali

Mohali district’s positivity rate increased to 19.8% on Thursday, compared to 16.9% 24 hours earlier. But Panchkula’s positivity rate decreased from 30% to 27% and in Chandigarh too, the figure lowered from 21.4% to 20.8%.

The fresh infections caused tricity’s active cases to jump to 13,324, a figure last recorded on May 22, 2021, amid the peak of second wave.

Amid steady rise in infections, Chandigarh’s active cases rose to 5,816.

Besides, Mohali has 4,915 infected patients and Panchkula 2,956.

Of the total cases in Chandigarh on Thursday, as many as 136 cases were reported from Manimajra alone.

In Mohali, 390 cases surfaced in Mohali city, 197 in Kharar and 330 in Dera Bassi.

Dr PVM Lakshmi, professor, community medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, said, “At present, Covid cases in the tricity are multiplying manifold every day. The next week is crucial as the cases can either increase or start ebbing away. When cases show downward trend for three to five consecutive days, we can say that we have surpassed the peak period.”

47 areas sealed in Chandigarh

Due to the spike in infections, the Chandigarh administration declared 47 more micro-containment zones across the city. Now, the total active micro-containment zones in Chandigarh are 183.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022