District unlock norms include 70 per cent vaccination among vulnerable group, says Centre

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday listed two crucial parameters for opening up districts after weeks of heavy restrictions to contain Covid-19: test positivity rate of less than 5 per cent for at least a week; and a minimum of 70 per cent vaccination coverage for the vulnerable groups.

There are 344 districts in India as of now that have a positivity rate of under 5 per cent. But there is no publicly available data yet on the districts that are anywhere near the 70 per cent cut-off point of vaccination among vulnerable groups.

​The vulnerable population comprises people above the age of 60 as also the 45+ with comorbidities.

“Gradual lifting (of lockdown) will not witness a massive surge. However, we have to ensure that vaccination is prioritised. The vaccination rate for the vulnerable population must be up to 70% and Covid-appropriate behaviour should be followed,” said Balram Bhargava, ICMR Director General. 

The World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate of under 5% for at least two weeks before an outbreak can be considered to be under control in a geography.

As coronavirus cases across India are now showing a declining trend, many states that had resorted to lockdowns are slowly opening up but some like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh have extended the Covid-related curbs with specific relaxations.