Rising Covid positivity rate causes worry in Chittoor district

Pilgrims waiting at Srinivasam complex in Tirupati to secure Sarva Darshan tokens
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Pilgrims waiting at Srinivasam complex in Tirupati to secure Sarva Darshan tokens

Highlights

  • Strict containment steps are required at pilgrim centres where Covid appropriate behaviour is lacking
  • Official statistics show that all mandals in the district are reporting positive cases

Tirupati: Covid positive cases are being reported in all mandals of the district while in some areas the positivity rate was even touching 10 per cent. Out of 42 PHC limits, positive cases are seen in the purview of 674 village secretariats whereas 13 of them were having more than 30 cases.

"The mandal officers have to face the action for their complacency in controlling the spread of the Covid," said District Collector M Hari Narayanan.

These serious comments of the Collector at a video-conference on Tuesday evening explains the severity of the Covid situation in Chittoor district where the number of daily cases were on a roller coaster varying between 100 – 250. The cases have never gone below 100 even on a single day during the past six months. Under the limits of two PHCs in Tirupati, the positivity rate is above seven per cent.

On many occasions, the district tops the list of daily Covid cases while some other days it stands second only to East Godavari. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, the district so far reported 2,42,589 positive cases while it has 1,952 active cases as of now. Almost for the last one year, the death toll was highest in Chittoor with 1,894 deaths so far followed by Krishna district with 1,363 deaths.

Yet, the foolproof containment steps were lacking everywhere despite Collector's frequent alerts. Covid appropriate behaviour had gone for a toss at almost all commercial establishments. Several doctors were of the view that the pilgrim centres for which the district is well known for, may become the super spreaders of the Covid and the results may be experienced sooner than later.

Devotees are queuing up at almost all temples and Tirumala, Kanipakam, Srikalahasti etc., were experiencing huge rush. In Tirumala, the number of pilgrims visiting the temple has reached around 30,000 now and the TTD has been planning to increase the number further. All temple managements have conveniently ignored controlling the pilgrims to maintain physical distance and have been conducting all rituals as before.

The mad rush of devotees for Slotted Sarva Darshan tokens at Srinivasam to have darshan of Lord Venkateswara has raised many eyebrows. Without safety measures, people of all age groups were seen pushing each other in the queue lines to grab the tokens before they were exhausted. Several devotees were even sleeping there overnight to get the tokens anytime they were issued.

However, the TTD has realised the dangers involved in it and took a decision not to issue offline tokens from September 26 and will make them available only online and even made vaccination certificates compulsory for darshan. It's high time that the district administration has to keep a close watch on commercial establishments and major temples to ensure everyone follows Covid appropriate behaviour. The immediate goal should be to bring down the cases to below 100, said a doctor.

Huge rush can be seen at the queue lines at Srinivasam complex in Tirupati for Sarva Darshan tokens


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