Centre asks Delhi, six states to step up vigil, ramp up testing amid rising Covid-19 cases

The Central government has asked Delhi and six other states to ramp up testing, vaccination and promote Covid-19 appropriate behaviour as several parts of the nation report a rising trend in Covid-19 cases.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana said the upcoming festivals and mass congregations may potentially increase the transmission of the virus.

The states must closely monitor the districts reporting higher cases, positivity rates and clusters to prevent further spread of infection and effective case management, Bhushan stressed in the letter dated August 5. The Health Secretary added it is critical to ensure adequate testing is undertaken.

Delhi has been witnessing a rise in daily Covid-19 cases with the city reporting 2,419 cases and a positivity rate of 12.9 per cent on Friday, according to the government’s daily health bulletin. The national capital also contributed to 8.2 per cent of India’s weekly new cases in the week ending August 5.

Citing district-wise data, Bhushan also mentioned that while Maharashtra reported 2,135 average cases per month in July, Kerala’s tally was 2,347.

He requested the states to ensure effective compliance with the revised surveillance strategy for COVID-19.

“In view of some changes in symptoms and clinical manifestation of the disease, it is crucial to monitor and report district-wise influenza-like illness (ILI) and SARI cases in all health facilities as per the guidelines, on a regular basis for detecting early warning signals of the spread of infection. This will enable us to take pre-emptive action if required, in any areas of concern,” he said.

Stressing the importance of genome sequencing of prescribed samples of the international passengers and collection of samples from local clusters of new Covid-19 cases, the Health Secretary said that such samples must be sent promptly by the states and union territories to the designated lab of the INSACOG network for genome sequencing.

He said the states should ensure to accelerate the pace of free administration of precaution doses for eligible population that is being administered in all government facilities till September 30 under the ‘COVID Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav’.

With PTI inputs

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