Lockdowns imposed by state governments to interrupt the chain of transmission need to be lifted “very progressively, very slowly” to keep away from a 3rd wave of infections, ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava mentioned Tuesday afternoon, throughout a central authorities briefing on the Covid scenario in India.
Dr Bhargava recommended a three-point plan – specializing in a low positivity price, vaccination and Covid-appropriate behaviour – to assist states determine areas the place the lockdown can lifted.
“Re-opening revolves round three pillars – weekly positivity beneath 5 per cent, a minimum of 70 per cent vaccination of susceptible sections (aged and 45+ with co-morbidities), and community-ownership of Covid-appropriate behaviour,” he mentioned.
“Elevated testing and containment at district degree labored however this isn’t a sustainable answer. We’ve got to ease lockdown very progressively, very slowly,” he added.
Dr Bhargava’s strategies come as states begin to ease restrictions.
Final week Delhi prolonged its lockdown until June 7 however allowed manufacturing and building companies to renew work with situations. The positivity price within the metropolis is beneath two per cent.
Beginning Monday, Uttar Pradesh eased restrictions in districts with lower than 600 lively instances.
The nationwide positivity price is 8.three per cent – down from 21.39 per cent within the April 27-Might three interval.
Within the week ending Might 31, 344 districts reported a positivity price of lower than 5 per cent. At first of the month – within the week ending Might 7 – that quantity was solely 92.
Moreover, solely 295 districts throughout India reported 100+every day instances within the Might 24-30 interval, as towards 531 within the April 28-Might four interval.
Because the variety of every day new instances proceed to lower – from a excessive over 4 lakh in 24 hours on Might 7 and Might 9 to fewer than 1.three lakh on June 1 – focus has additionally shifted to vaccination, with the centre dealing with questions from specialists and the Supreme Court docket over the provision of doses.
Dr Bhargava mentioned the centre hoped to have round one crore vaccine doses out there per day by mid-July, or early-August. He mentioned the centre anticipated to have vaccinated the nation by end-2021.
“There may be NO scarcity of vaccines. This (scarcity) is what you are feeling if you wish to vaccinated the nation inside a month (however) our inhabitants is 4 occasions that of the USA. Must have some endurance… by mid-July, or early-August, we’ll have sufficient doses for a crore a day,” he mentioned.
“By December we hope to have the entire nation vaccinated,” he mentioned, echoing guarantees made by two union ministers and the centre – to the Supreme Court docket.
Vaccine provides have develop into a sore topic between the centre and states, with the latter insisting they don’t have adequate inventory, notably for the 18-44 age group that authorities knowledge says accounted for practically 50 per cent of all new instances between Might 1 and 24.
On Monday the Supreme Court docket flagged “numerous flaws” within the centre’s vaccination coverage, together with availability and pricing, and gave it two weeks to reply to its queries.