Covid uptick in Punjab: Nawanshahr emerges as hotspot again, health team to visit district

Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid 19, Punjab, said that with reopening of schools, cases have been added in Nawanshahr, Ludhiana and other districts with many students and teachers testing positive.

A day after the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) flagged that five states — Punjab, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala — have been witnessing an upsurge in daily Covid cases despite national positivity rate declining for the past 13 days, the Punjab health department Sunday decided to rush a team to Nawanshahr (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) district which is now ‘emerging as Covid hotspot in Punjab’.

The district has 583 active cases currently, the highest among 22 districts in Punjab, followed by Ludhiana (414) and SAS Nagar (385).

Punjab health officials said that a special team of specialists is being sent to Nawanshahr (SBS Nagar) on Monday to ‘analyze and find out the reasons’ behind Covid cases’ upsurge in the district in the past 12 days. However, the reopening of schools in the state and casual approach being adopted by the residents in Punjab such as not wearing masks are being underlined as two main reasons for the recent surge in Covid cases.

As per the data compiled by The Indian Express, Punjab witnessed 234 new Covid cases on February 10. On Sunday (February 21), the fresh case count shot up to 348 cases.

On February 11, the state reported 309 new cases, on February 12 there were 247 new cases, and the next day on February 13 the number increased to 261. Then on February 14, there were 234 new cases, on February 15 there were 224 fresh cases and on February 16, there were 248 new cases. Since then, the number of daily cases started crossing the 300-mark and on February 17, there were 341 new cases. On February 19, 20 and 21, there were 385, 358 and 348 new Covid cases respectively.

Also, according to the data, for 12 days from February 10 to 21, on seven days, the highest cases have been reported from Nawanshahr district.

On February 11, there were the highest 71 cases from Nawanshahr, on February 13 there were 82 cases from the district, then there were 66 cases on February 14, again the highest 92 cases were from Nawanshahr on February 17 and in the past three days too (February 19, 20 and 21), the maximum cases were reported from Nawanshahr — 101, 65 and 63 respectively.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr G B Singh, director, health, Punjab, said that a team was being rushed to Nawanshahr on Monday to analyse and find out why the district was again emerging as a Covid hotspot in Punjab. “One reason is the reopening of schools as many teachers and students have been tested positive in Nawanshahr and Ludhiana. But we are sending a team to Nawanshahr on Monday to prepare a detailed report for the reasons behind the surge,” he said.

Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid 19, Punjab, said that with reopening of schools, cases have been added in Nawanshahr, Ludhiana and other districts with many students and teachers testing positive.

“Other than reopening of schools, another reason is casual approach being adopted by the people and not wearing masks, not following social distancing etc. People have started behaving like there is no Covid at all now. Stricter implementation is required on the ground to ensure people wear masks like it was done when Covid was at its peak. However, Nawanshahr district is again emerging as a Covid hotspot. The first wave in Punjab had also started from this district. We are sending a team to analyse the reasons there,” Dr Bhaskar said.

As per Sunday’s media bulletin, Punjab till now has witnessed 1.78 lakh Covid cases of which 3,019 are now active while 5,754 people have died due to Covid. As per district- wise cases break-up, Ludhiana continues to be at the top of the list with 26,664 cases, followed by Jalandhar (21,239 cases), Patiala (21,239 cases), SAS Nagar (19,939 cases), Amritsar (15,404 cases) and Gurdaspur (8,346 cases).

At the bottom of the list are Nawanshahr (3,570 cases) and Mansa (2,492 cases). However, Nawanshahr has 583 active cases (the highest in the state currently), followed by SAS Nagar (385) and Ludhiana (414).

The Punjab government had allowed reopening of all schools (for classes 9 to 12) from October 15 onwards. Then on January 7, schools were reopened for classes 5 to 8 as well. For classes 3 and 4, the schools reopened from January 27 and for pre-primary, classes 1 and 2, schools reopened from February 1.

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