AS PUNJAB recorded its first monthly fall in new cases in October since the Covid outbreak in March, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday ordered a comprehensive Sero survey to ascertain the quantum of infection in the state.
A total of 19,772 cases were recorded in the month of October.
The month-long Sero survey would also determine whether it was herd immunity that led to a consistent decrease in new cases in the state.
Health Advisor to Punjab government and former chief of PGI Dr K K Talwar said there was no substantial data to link the fall in new cases to any probability of herd immunity. “There was a Sero survey (to check anti-bodies if anyone contracted the infection and recovered without reporting the infection) by ICMR and in Ludhiana for instance, 18 to 20 per cent cases which were detected in the survey. For herd immunity, there should have been 50 to 60 per cent such cases. It might be due to nature, by efforts, by contact tracing that cases have decreased,” said Dr Talwar.
Health Secretary Hussan Lal said the Sero survey conducted by ICMR was limited to only four districts — Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar and Amritsar. He added that barring Ludhiana, where 20 per cent of the sample size were found to have anti-bodies, in the remaining three districts, the figures were around 10 per cent.
“This Sero survey would be a comprehensive one, covering all 22 districts,” Lal said, attributing the drop in new cases to enhanced contact tracing from “three and half (per positive patient) in August to eleven and half by now”, “increased testing”, “dispelling fears and rumours among people about testing” and countering the “social stigma” attached with the infection.
As on October 31, there were 1,33,658 cases in the state. By the end of September, there were 1,13,886 cases in the state.
The peak in new cases was recorded in September when there were 59,894 new cases, driving up the tally from 53,992 by the end of August to 1,13,886 by September-end.