On Sunday, fresh COVID-19 cases fell further with 196 testing positive for the infection from the 50,298 samples tested. This is the first time after May 1, 2020, that the number of fresh cases had fallen below 200, health officials said. On that day 9,817 samples were tested, 54 had recovered and one had died of the infection.
“Then the positivity was already about 20.6% while now it is about 0.5%,” the official added. Currently, 2,770 persons are under treatment in the State. So far 34,51,013 persons have been infected. The State also recorded three deaths.
Seven districts, including Ariyalur, Kallakurichi, Ramanathapuram, Ranipet, Theni, Tenkasi, Tirupattur, did not report fresh cases and all other districts except Chengalpattu, Chennai and Coimbatore, registered fresh cases in single digit. Chengalpattu logged 20 cases and Coimbatore 25.
In Chennai 62 cases were reported, taking the tally of those under treatment, either in hospitals or at home, to 726. So far, 7,50,410 have been infected and 7,40,618 have recovered. In the district, as many as 9,066 deaths have been recorded.
With the death of three persons under treatment in hospital, the State’s toll touched 38,015. One of them, a 36-year-old man from Mayiladuthurai, had no pre-existing conditions. He died in Tiruvarur Medical College hospital on March 4.
In a day, 554 more persons were declared to have recovered, taking the number of recoveries to 34,10,228 so far, according to the daily bulletin of the Directorate of Public Health.
Vaccination coverage low
Health secretary J. Radhakrishnan said though it was relieving to see a rapid decline in cases, the worry is about the equally rapid fall in response to mega COVID-19 vaccination camps. “The daily vaccinations done in the vaccination centres seem to be producing diminishing returns,” he said. There were still a few eligible persons avoiding their first dose and over 1 crore persons were yet to take their second dose. It is also a matter of concern that many are neglecting to follow COVID-19- appropriate behaviour, he added.
If caseload had fallen in the State, then it is because of consistent work by frontline and health workers, he said.
The main pillars in our fight to reduce infections are COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and complete vaccination of eligible persons, Dr. Radhakrishnan said. “It is too early to say that the pandemic is over until the public health experts are fully convinced. Hastily abandoning the pillars on which we overcame the waves is not the right approach. We all need to tread cautiously in the coming days,” he said.