Centre writes to states amid Covid spike, asks them to focus on testing


The Union health ministry has written to seven states asking them to focus on testing, increase the pace of vaccination and ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed amid a spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

In a letter to Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked the states to be more cautious in the coming weeks as upcoming festivals and celebrations may increase the chances of the infection spreading.

“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, regularly 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,” Bhushan said.

Meanwhile, Delhi on Saturday added 2,311 infections at a test positivity rate of 13.84%.

The letter stated that Delhi contributed 8.2% of India’s weekly new cases in the last week. Meanwhile, Kerala has reported 2,347 average cases per day in the past month and Maharashtra 2,135 cases, the letter said.

“Renewed attention needs to be paid to ensuring Covid-appropriate behaviour in crowded places like markets, inter-state bus stands, schools, colleges, railway stations, etc,” the letter added.

Stressing genome sequencing of prescribed samples of international passengers as well as a collection of samples from sentinel sites and a local cluster of new Covid-19 cases is equally important, Bhushan said such samples must be sent by the states and union territories to the designated lab of INSACOG network.

India on Saturday reported 18,667 fresh Covid-19 cases.



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