In south Punjab, 60% Covid cases being reported from villages
In the last two weeks, more coronavirus infection and mortality cases are being reported from villages of southern Punjab districts.
The trend has sent the health authorities in a tizzy as the rural segment from south Malwa, particularly Mansa and Bathinda districts, have a strong representation in the ongoing farmer agitation on Delhi borders. Health authorities say around 60% of cases are being reported from villages as there has been a poor response from villagers to the vaccination drive.
On Tuesday, Bathinda reported 20 Covid deaths, the highest in a day since the pandemic outbreak last year. Also, the district recorded the highest number of new cases at 806, taking the active cases to 5,376.
In-charge of Covid mortality cases in Bathinda Dr Sukhjinder Singh Gill said 11 of the 20 dead were from villages and nine from the city.
Doctors say patients coming from villages are found to be suffering from lifestyle comorbidities, including obesity and diabetes, that deteriorates their condition when contracted with coronavirus.
“For the last few days, Bathinda district has a daily average of 600 patients and more than half of them are from the rural segments. A majority of village patients contact health department after their medical condition deteriorates,” said district Covid officer Dr Ramandeep Singla.
Villages are visiting hospital when they are at the advanced stage of level-2 treatment, or say when they need ventilator support. “This trend is a cause of concern as Bathinda villagers have a frequent movement to and from Delhi borders due to farmers’ agitation,” said Singla.
Mansa civil surgeon Dr Sukhwinder Singh said the rural population has been opposing vaccination and even testing. “Medical teams visiting villages for vaccination camps, awareness campaigns or sample collection often face resistance from villagers. We had to take police protection on various occasions. Villagers are not ready to take life-saving jabs and it is contributing a sharp surge in Covid cases from rural areas of the district,” he added.
In the last two days, Mansa reported news 381 cases out of which 217 were from the rural belt.
Health officials in the region say villagers having Covid symptoms are taking self-medication or medicines prescribed by local medical practitioners.
Muktsar chief medical officer Dr Ranju Singla said timely testing can lead to timely treatment. “Villagers have started rushing to hospitals. But in most cases, they come at the later stage when the infection has severely impacted their health,” she said.