The first case of COVID-19 in Rajasthan was detected quite early when an Italian tourist tested positive on March 2. In a couple of days his wife too tested positive. Subsequently returning migrants, infections at a BSF camp and evacuees from Iran kept the numbers growing in the state, but the government has claimed that it has been on top of the pandemic right from the word go.
The state, nevertheless, stands 12th among states in terms of the caseload. Rajasthan, unlike most other states, does not have one district that has a huge caseload, often the state capital.
July though has seen a rapid rise in cases, which would have nothing to do with the ongoing political crisis, one would hope.
When you look at a district like Alwar though, the rapid rise in cases is worrying. On May 1, the district had just 11 cases to Jaipur’s 961. On August 5, Alwar has 4,768 (9.9% of the state’s total) cases to Jaipur’s 6,093 (12.6%). Jodhpur, too, was behind Jaipur but has the highest number of confirmed cases in the state now, though it tops the list of districts with the most number of recoveries, followed by the capital.
More than 200 people have recovered in Jaipur, while Jodhpur has witnessed only 85 deaths in comparison, while Ajmer and Bharatpur have had 55 deaths respectively.
Rajasthan has consistently claimed that it is because of its “testing, tracing and isolation” strategy that it has managed to keep the caseload down. According to the figures on August 5, 20,605 tests per million were conducted, which is lower than Karnataka, for instance, which is doing about 23,600 per million population. In terms of absolute numbers, Tamil Nadu has conducted 29,53,561, Maharashtra 24,18,299 and Andhra Pradesh 22,35,646 tests, while Rajasthan has done 16,19,744 tests.
A district that seems to be on a worrying trajectory is Kota. In the chart on Cases Per Week in Highly Infected Districts, the district’s caseload in July seems to have grown rapidly.
In the past week the number of tests have gone up but the cases have also come down.
The state government is keen to use plasma therapy. According to health minister Raghu Sharma, Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh Hospital has seen 100% success when using it for serious patients. The state is expecting to start using plasma treatment even in Jodhpur, Kota and Udaipur.
Some cities like Dungarpur, with the involvement of the local chambers, have decided to keep markets open only from 9 am to 7 pm, and have a complete lockdown every Sunday. How effective such measures will prove to be will be seen in the coming weeks.
Rajasthan’s continuing political turmoil hopeful will not result in the administration dropping the ball on the pandemic.