With the Odisha government recently rescinding the order that had mandated production of RT-PCR negative report or fully vaccinated certificate for the inter-state travellers coming to the State, the warning shot is the southern border that has turned unquiet for the State.
As per the Union Health Ministry report, a rise in trend in the daily Covid-19 cases in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh has been reported.
Even as the East Godavari district has been the hotspot in the neighbouring state, in the last 10-days, the Rt value (transmission or contact rate) in the neighbouring Srikakulum has increased to 1.17 on August 1. Moreover, the infection rate in the district hovered at around 0.02 as against East Godavari's 0.05, though the Test Positive Rate (TPR) has been measured at around a mere 1.21 as against 12.24 in East Godavari district. The vaccinated populace in the neighbouring district stood at around 11 per cent only.
In the given scenario, the Srikakulam district holds the risk of spread in the bordering districts of Ganjam and Gajapati. Consider the Covid-19 scenario in the districts of Ganjam and Gajapati.
- The test positivity rate in Ganjam and Gajapati stands at 0.43 per cent.
- The infection rate in both districts is zero.
- The fully vaccinated populace in the Ganjam district is at around 10.45 per cent.
- In Gajapati, the fully vaccinated proportion stood at 6.71 pc.
- While Ganjam has an active caseload of 50, it's a mere 21 in the Gajapati district.
- As per the data available with the Odisha Health Department, the blocks in the Gajapati district are the next-door neighbours to Srikakulam - Kasinagar, Gumma and Parlakhemundi.
- While Kasinagar has zero active cases, the active cases are 3 in Gumma and 5 in Parlakhemundi. The infection rate has been nil in the blocks.
- Similarly, the next-door blocks in the Ganjam district are Patrapur and Chikiti.
- The active caseload in the blocks stood at 3 and 2, respectively.
- The infection rate at these blocks is estimated at zero.
While the above data shows the Covid-19 ground scenario in the districts is very well under control, but the faultline that could trigger a rise in caseload conspicuously exists there. The Rt value in both the district on August 1 is measured at 1.05, respectively.
So, the red sky in the morning for the State Government here is despite recording daily new cases in single digits, and also the fatalities due to Covid-19 in last one month (Jul 12-Aug 11) was at around 80 in Ganjam district- when the State as a whole since last recording nearly 60 deaths every day- the Rt value crossing the threshold value of 1 by Aug 1 shows that the transmission of the virus is on in the districts. But it is yet to reflect in the infection rates there.
Action Plan Needed
In the given risk scenario, as per WHO Covid-19 guidelines, the Ganjam and Gajapati District Administrations need to raise the screening level in the next-door neighbours to the Srikakulam district.
As per the guidelines, there is a need to carry out surveillance of ILI (influenza like illness) symptoms and increase the RTPCR tests in the blocks to avoid any crisis in future.