Positivity below 5%, vaccination above 70%: ICMR chief lays down 3-point plan for unlocking

Speaking at a Health Ministry briefing, ICMR chief Dr Bhargava on Tuesday suggested a three-point criterion for unlocking as several states have begun easing lockdown restrictions.

City express News 

 New DelhiJune 2, 2021: With several states relaxing lockdown norms, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bharagava on Tuesday listed out the three conditions on which unlock decisions should be taken.

Speaking at a Health Ministry briefing, Dr Bhargava suggested a three-point criterion for opening up of lockdown rules — a positivity rate of less than 5 per cent for a week, 70 per cent vaccination rate for vulnerable population and community-ownership of Covid-appropriate behaviour.

“In terms of preventing the third wave, it is very simple that districts with less than 5 per cent positivity should open up a little bit they should open very gradually. They should ensure that the vulnerable population should achieve at least 70 per cent vaccination if that has not been achieved, they should vaccinate them and then open up,” he said.

Dr Bhargava said that containment measures at the district level are “not a sustainable solution” and hence a mechanism is needed to unlock systematically.

He emphasised that through a gradual lifting of restrictions, states will be able to prevent a massive surge in Covid-19 cases, but the priority still has to remain vaccination.

The latest data show that 44 per cent of India’s districts (323) have a positivity rate of less than five per cent; 19.8 per cent districts (145) reported positivity rates between five and ten per cent, and 36 per cent of the districts (266) reported positivity rates above 10 per cent in the week ending-May 29.

A test positivity rate of five per cent or less for two weeks is considered safe, according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

The national positivity rate has now come down to 8.3 per cent from a staggering 21.39 per cent in the first week of May.

During the briefing, the head of India’s Covid-19 task force, Dr VK Paul also clarified that there will be no mixing of Covid-19 vaccine doses in India until enough scientific evidence on its effectiveness is gathered. It also clarified that there is no change in its SOP for vaccination, and all beneficiaries will get two doses of Covishield and Covaxin.

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