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Chhattisgarh Covid tally rising, 70% active cases are in districts bordering Maharashtra, MP

According to official figures, the three districts of Durg, Rajnandgaon and Raipur, which border Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, account for 15,029 of the total 22,057 active cases.

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Raipur: Chhattisgarh is now the state with the fifth highest number of active coronavirus cases in the country. There were 22,057 active Covid cases in the state as of Tuesday evening, with 3,108 new cases reported in 24 hours.

According to officials in the health department, the three districts of Durg, Rajnandgaon and Raipur, which border Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, account for 15,029 cases — nearly 70 per cent of the total active cases.

The officials said the main reason for this is the continuous influx of people from the two neighbouring states for reasons ranging from work to family events.

According to government officials associated with Covid-19 management in the state, most of the Covid-positive patients identified after 1 March in Chhattisgarh were found in these three districts that border Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region and Madhya Pradesh.

The officials said Durg district has the most number of active cases (8,165), and that’s because this is the zone frequented by people from Maharashtra the most.

Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo, however, said the government has no plans as of now to restrict movement of people between the states.

From 253 daily cases on 1 March to 3,108 on 30 March

The state’s positivity rate has significantly gone up this month — from 0.99 per cent in early March to 6 per cent now — and the testing numbers have been hovering between 25,000 and 41,000 per day.

According to the Chhattisgarh government’s data, only 253 Covid cases were detected on 1 March, when the number of active cases had come down to 2,880 from 3,040 recorded on 19 February.

In contrast, there has been an increase in the number of daily cases after 1 March, with the figure reaching the highest for this year — 3,162 — on 27 March.

During this period, the number of active patients increased manifold — from 2,880 on 1 March to 22,057 on 30 March.

Speaking to ThePrint, Health Minister Singh Deo said: “From a comparative study of Covid-19 cases in the state, it is clear that more than 50 per cent of active cases are currently in the districts bordering Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In other districts, this number is extremely meagre.”

Also read: Delhi to randomly test flyers coming from states with rising Covid cases at airport

Explaining this, Dr Subhash Pandey, the spokesperson for State Command and Control Centre for Covid-19, said: “People coming in to Chhattisgarh from areas like Amravati, Bhandara, Tumsar, Nagpur, Wardha, Chhanganmeta and Bhatnera districts of Maharashtra are mostly part of the migratory population that keeps visiting places like Durg, Rajnandgaon and Raipur.”

He said people mostly come to Chhattisgarh from Maharashtra and MP looking for jobs, to meet relatives on this side or to attend family functions.

“Many of these people make a trip to Chhattisgarh in every 2-3 days. These people come here in large numbers either looking for employment, to visit relatives or to attend family functions. Bhilai Nagar of Durg is the main axis of this migratory population. Apart from this, Durg is also a major hub of political activities, attracting large number of outsiders,” Pandey said.

Raipur, meanwhile, is a major centre of trade and commerce, due to which people from the border districts of Betul, Balaghat and Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh keep coming there, he added.

Singh Deo, however, said the government does not plan to restrict movement of people.

“For now, the government has no intention of applying any kind of restriction on border movement, but nothing can be definitely said about the time to come. However, it is certain that the impact of the second wave of coronavirus epidemic is expected to last at least three months. The government will definitely take appropriate steps if and when required,” he said.

Speaking about the rising positivity rate, Singh Deo said it’s “a matter of concern”.

“Covid positivity rate…increased from .99 per cent in the first week of March to 1.6 per cent in the second. It further increased to 1.8 per cent in the third week and shot up to 6 per cent in the fourth week. Rising infection rate in the state is a matter of concern and the government will take all necessary measures to contain it as soon as possible.”

Also read: Govt says Covid situation ‘going from bad to worse’, Delhi now among 10 worst-hit ‘districts’

‘People have become negligent’

Chhattisgarh now has the fifth highest number of active Covid cases in the country after Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka. More than 3.44 lakh cases have been reported in the state so far, of which 4,131 people died.

Omkar Khandwal, a member of the State Covid-19 Coordination Committee and in-charge of the vaccination centre at Raipur Medical College, said: “The Vidarbha region of Maharashtra adjoining the state is considered to be highly sensitive in terms of coronavirus infection. A large number of cases have been detected there on a constant basis for the last few months. This is one of the main reasons for the increasing number of Covid patients in Chhattisgarh.”

He, however, noted that people have started becoming lax in following Covid-appropriate behaviour.

“Residents of the state have started to turn negligent in terms of avoiding Covid infection. A large number of people had started to organise weddings, birthdays and other community celebrations. Protective measures like face masks and social distancing had almost gone out of practice.”

Although the state government has maintained that it doesn’t plan to impose fresh lockdown due to the increasing number of Covid cases, it took an important decision Saturday ordering mandatory shutdown of business establishments after 9 pm every night.

Meanwhile, the state has vaccinated 18.62 lakh people until 30 March and claims to have picked up pace on this front.

“Our vaccination was not slow as such but were able to achieve 60-70 per cent till almost a week ago. However, now it has picked up and we are able to come close to the target of 1 lakh shots per day for the past 4-5 days. It was 1.15 lakh on 27 March and had been almost close to 1 lakh after that, barring a couple of days due to Holi festivities. We are satisfied with this achievement and planning to raise this target to 2 lakh in the coming days,” Singh Deo said.

Also read: Maharashtra’s worst-hit Amravati confirms disturbing trend — Covid is moving to rural areas


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