Patients requiring medical oxygen support jumped 264% in 24 hours in Chandigarh from 62 on Friday to 226 on Saturday, an alarming increase, sparking fresh fear in the Punjab Health Department.
Punjab has recently reported a steep rise in Covid-19 cases. According to the medical bulletin issued by the department, only 23 patients required medical oxygen support on January 1. Punjab reported 3,643 fresh Covid-19 cases on Saturday against 2,901 on Friday. On January 1, it had reported a mere 332 cases.
The medical bulletin also showed that the number of patients requiring Level 3 support rose to 55 on Saturday from just 20 on Friday — a 175% increase. During the same period, patients on ventilator support also rose to 11 from six. Punjab had no patient on ventilator support and only eight were on Level 3 support on January 1.
The state’s positivity rate also rose to 14.64% on Saturday from 11.75% on Friday. Punjab had a positivity rate of 2.02% on January 1. Patiala, with 840 patients, tops the list of Punjab cities with the most new-caseload additions, followed by Mohali with 563, Ludhiana with 561, and Amritsar with 346.
The Punjab government has ordered schools and colleges to close for offline classes in light of the spread of the Omicron variant. It also imposed a night curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM every day, while cinema theatres, restaurants, and malls have been asked to operate at only 50% capacity.
Amid this worrying rise in the state’s Covid-19 caseload, Punjab will go to polls on February 14 with the Election Commission of India announcing the schedule for elections to five state assemblies, also including Manipur, Goa, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. The result will be announced on March 10.
While the commission has banned physical rallies and roadshows till January 15 and has capped the number of persons allowed for door-to-door election campaign at just five, health experts have expressed concern that it could lead to a further spurt in Covid-19 cases, especially because of the Omicron variant’s high transmissibility.