The world has been able to contain the covid-19 pandemic in recent months, with just 3.5 million new cases reported per week now, down 24% since August. This, and improved vaccinations, has prompted many governments to ease restrictions and reopen their economies. However, countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Russia are still reporting high numbers of cases. In the 20 of those countries with the highest number of new confirmed cases, the relaxation of restrictions has been uneven, based on the trajectory of infections and vaccination rates, the data shows.
Thirteen of those 20 countries have become less stringent in the past three months, shows an index developed by the University of Oxford based on nine indicators such as school and workplace closures and travel bans . Some of them, including the United States, Brazil and Iran, have seen cases decrease by at least 43% during the period and have also fully vaccinated more than 55% of their population. In India and South Africa, the easing coincided with a drop in cases, but they have fully vaccinated less than 30% of people, leaving them more vulnerable to future outbreaks.
Then there are countries like Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, which have low vaccination rates, forcing tighter restrictions as cases increase. Russia has fully vaccinated 35% of its population, while Ukraine has vaccinated 20%.
In contrast, the UK and Germany have eased restrictions over the past three months despite an increase in infections, but have fully vaccinated at least 60% of their population. Italy is an exception where the severity index has increased significantly despite a drop in the number of infections and high vaccination coverage.
The vaccination rate in India increased last week after falling steadily since September. From a daily average of 9.7 million doses in the third week of September, it fell to 4.9 million in the week ended November 11. Over the past week, it has risen to 6 million daily doses.
Sixteen states and Union Territories have so far administered more than 1,000 doses per 1,000 population. Among states with more than 10 million people, Himachal Pradesh leads with 1,368 doses per 1,000, followed by Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. Earlier this month, India’s Minister of Health Mansukh Mandaviya set a goal of vaccinating 100% of the eligible population with the first dose by the end of November. So far, 757 million of the 940 million eligible people aged 18 and over have received at least their first dose. In order to meet the target in the remaining 12 days, India must administer almost three times the current figures.
Featured: Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is currently reporting the 10th highest number of new cases in the country. It is the only region of the country where weekly cases have increased since the start of this month. From 551 cases in the first week of November, the number has risen to 827 cases last week and to 1,110 cases now.
Currently, the Union territory has 1,513 active cases, up from 902 two weeks ago. Of those, Kashmir Division had 1,269 cases, with Srinagar District topping the list with 584 cases, despite fully immunizing 66.6% of its population. Srinagar is followed by Baramulla (270), Ganderbal (114) and Badgam (113). In Jammu Division, Jammu (102) and Reasi (64) Districts have the highest workloads.
With the exception of Kishtwar, all districts have vaccinated 100 percent of their population aged 18 and over with at least one dose.
The number of weekly cases in India has declined over the past eight weeks, with 78,019 new infections in the past seven days. Its active workload at 128,762 is the lowest in the last 528 days. However, 22 states and union territories reported an increase in cases this week. In 18 of them, it increased by less than 60 cases each. Jammu and Kashmir recorded the largest increase, followed by West Bengal and the Punjab. Kerala still accounts for 56.2% of the new confirmed cases in the country.
Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram are the only districts in India with over 5,000 weekly cases each. Kerala’s 1,725 deaths represent 75% of total deaths in the country. A total of 24 states and UTs have reported less than 10 deaths in the past seven days, of which 7 have reported none.
(www.howindialives.com is a public data database and search engine)
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