The Covid-19 positivity rate is well above 11% in Punjab as of 29th April 2021. The surge in cases is majorly taking place in the districts of Amritsar and Ludhiana. Ludhiana has the highest death rate in the nation for which the logic and excuse given by Punjab’s health Minister, Balbir Sidhu is that there are large number of Jhuggis and slum areas in Punjab.
Punjab’s Chief Minister Captain Amrinder singh has maintained that state won’t go into complete lockdown, however the restrictions on crowds are in place along with night curfew. It is needless to say that these restrictions are flouted by none other than the politicians of Punjab. SAD workers flouted the restrictions on Wednesday while congress youth workers did it on Tuesday in a party.
Captain Amrinder Singh’s two point formula to handle Covid Crisis is 1) Vaccination 2) Testing + Containment. He has stressed on the need of micro containment again and again. It is however important to understand Punjab’s preparation for ‘The National Vaccination Drive’
Health Minister of Punjab today highlighted that the state doesn’t have enough vaccines to vaccinate all the 18-45yr olds. The minister said that state doesn’t have enough doses of vaccine and hence will not be starting the vaccine drive.
Meanwhile the ongoing vaccination in the state is going on at snails pace as well. If we talk about how different districts are doing when it comes to vaccination, the district is leading by having administered the highest per million (10 lakh) doses in the first phase of inoculation against the deadly Coronavirus.
According to data available on the Co-WIN application till April 28, SAS Nagar (Mohali) has administered nearly 2.36 lakh doses per million population in the district, followed by 2.12 lakh in Pathankot and 2.03 lakh in Gurdaspur. In absolute numbers, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana districts have administered higher number of vaccines than Mohali, but in terms of the proportion of population of the district, it has emerged the leader.
At least five panchayats in Mohali, Tarouli, Rasoolpur, Barsalpur, Madanheri and Bahadurgarh have achieved 100% vaccination, with all eligible persons above 45 having taken the jab.
My investigation has revealed that there is no rigidity in Punjab when it comes to vaccination. There is however lot of misinformation regarding the virus and its treatments. Gurdwaras are stepping up their role in villages by educating people about the merits of vaccine and how it is important. Vinni Mahajan, Punjab’s Chief secretary has appreciated this awareness carried out by Gurdwaras and panchayats.
The farmers are also vaccinated by the efforts of Punjab govt. Farmers, arthiyas, labourers and other stakeholders are vaccinated during ongoing wheat procurement amid COVID-19. Punjab Government has vaccinated more than 8400 persons so far during special camps organized at grain markets across the state.
Chairman Punjab Mandi Board Lal Singh informed that Special COVID Vaccination Camps set up in all 154 Market Committees in the state to administer vaccine to the people above the age of 45 years visiting grain markets during the current Rabi Marketing Season.
Captain Amrinder singh has written to centre urging centre to vaccinate people for free in Punjab. He has also highlighted the crunch of oxygen that state faces. Punjab’s requirement has reached upto 310-320 MT/ Day which is way higher than what Punjab receives at the moment. Captain has urged centre to maintain the uninterrupted flow of oxygen citing that patients from other states are flowing into Punjab now. Captain has also directed 98% of oxygen from industrial production to be put into medical use. It remains to be seen how Punjab fares in its battle against the deadly virus. The conditions on ground remain anxious as of today.