Dip in positive cases raises doubts about Covid strategy in Agra

The continuous fall in the number of Covid-19 cases in Agra from 148 two weeks ago to 69 in the past 24 hours, has raised some doubts about the strategy being followed to battle the pandemic, but the health department officials sound optimistic and pat their backs about the multi-pronged attack on the dreaded virus.

A few private doctors suspect lower testing to be the main reason behind the daily tally looking encouraging suddenly. But, officials said everyone who turns up for testing was being helped and provided support.

The daily testing sample size remains 2,000 plus. Only two government-run centres have been allowed to collect samples. The private pathology laboratories have not been given the permission, but reports suggest testing continues clandestinely.

After initial reluctance, the private nursing homes and clinics too were back in action and providing adequate support to patients of non-Covid health issues.

A doctor said, “Each day, we are learning and our experience of the past six months is now coming handy. Proper mechanisms and protocols are in place, and there is less panic now. People too were cautious and cooperative.”

A large number of suspected cases of Covid-19 had been advised home isolation. Many were taking medicines on their own or through consultation with their family doctors. “We have been taking various Ayurvedic medicines for months and follow the guidelines strictly,” homemaker Usha Devi of Aparna River Vies, a housing complex in the Dayalbagh area, said.

“In our neighbourhood, people on their own are following the protocols. A slight cold or cough is enough to send people rushing to the chemist shop for medicines. Gargling and steam inhalation are now common, as people are learning. Our children are no longer insisting on cold drinks or ice creams,” added another resident of Vijay Nagar Colony, Sudhir Gupta.

The number of total samples in Agra taken so far is 1,85,002 and the positivity rate of 3.04 per cent has shown no change. However, the recovery rate has once again improved to 82.45 per cent from 78 per cent last week.

The total number of cases so far is 5,630. Of this, 4,642 patients have been discharged after recovery. The case fatality rate is 2.20 per cent. The number of active cases is 864.

Officials claim that the district Covid-19 task force has successfully worked on a comprehensive strategy, fast testing, prompt treatment, a network of ambulances, immediate response to oxygen shortage, adequate supplies of medicines and equipment at the Covid hospitals, along with support from the municipal corporation to sanitise and clean up hotspots after reporting of cases.

The IMAs telemedicine consultation support system has also helped. In addition, the Covid-19 WhatsApp help group led by advocate Vivek Sarabhoy has been active providing prompt help to those in distress.

Meanwhile, local police stepped up its vigil to round up the violators of the Covid-19 guidelines. On Monday, more than 2,000 people were challenged and made to pay a fine for not wearing masks. A sum of Rs 4.47 lakh was collected as fine.

Senior Superintendent of Police Bablu Kumar said people should now learn to wear masks to show concern for others and to protect themselves from getting the infection. All police stations have now been given targets to meet on a daily basis. Two days ago, the nodal officer for Agra appointed by the state government had asked the police to be strict in enforcing the norms.