The Centre on Friday ordered eight states, including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Maharashtra, to maintain strict monitoring and take aggressive measures in any high-risk locations to stop the possible spread of infection in light of the rising number of Covid-19 cases throughout the nation.
In a letter addressed to eight states, Rajesh Bhushan, the union’s secretary of health, stressed that “Covid is still not over”: Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Haryana, and Delhi. He warned them to exercise vigilance and to avoid becoming complacent because even a minor slip-up could reverse the progress that had been accomplished in controlling the pandemic.
“Since March, Covid-19 infections have been steadily increasing across the nation; 10,262 cases were registered in the week ending April 20. With 5.5% reported optimism in the week ending April 19 compared to 4.7% recorded the week before, a jump in positivity rate has also been seen across the nation, according to Bhushan. He continued, “This is a cause for concern.”
Although Covid-19 hospitalisation and mortality rates have remained modest, states or districts reporting a higher number of cases may be signs of the infection’s limited expansion. In order to control and contain surges in the early stages, he said, it is crucial to regularly monitor these states or districts, which have high daily cases and/or high test positivity rates.
“It is also essential to guarantee rapid and frequent data update to support precise situational monitoring. To prevent the spread of an infection, the State must keep a close eye on any region of concern and, if necessary, take immediate action. It is essential to regularly monitor and take action, according to Bhushan.
He added that the Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination (5-T) strategy for pandemic control and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour continue to be effective strategies. State health authorities must, however, quickly put in place public health measures with an emphasis on enhancing Covid surveillance in every area. In addition, he stressed the importance of periodically tracking the trends of influenza-like illness (ILI) and SARI cases in all sentinel surveillance sites and ensuring their reporting via the IDSP-IHIP network.
In order to focus on emerging hotspots, ILI, and SARI cases and to maintain the recommended percentage of RT-PCR and Antigen tests, the Union Health Secretary has encouraged the states to maintain acceptable levels of testing in all districts.
The states have been urged to send more Covid-positive samples through the INSACOG network of laboratories for Whole Genomic Sequencing, particularly from any further clusters of cases found in the neighbourhood.
The Centre has requested that states guarantee operational readiness and proper hospital infrastructure strengthening, especially at the sub-district level. This entails guaranteeing the availability of necessary medications, equipment, and a skilled workforce. The states have already gotten enough financial assistance through PM-ABHIM and other financial packages.
Additionally, the states have been advised to encourage the delivery of vaccination doses to those who qualify for them, address any vaccine resistance through community awareness initiatives, and raise public awareness to support prompt reporting of symptoms and testing. Additionally, they have been instructed to follow Covid-recommended behaviours, particularly to stay away from crowded or inadequately ventilated areas and to wear masks there.
According to Bhushan, the number of weekly Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh increased from 279 in the week ending April 13 to 696 in the week concluding April 20. It was noted that one district had a positivity rate higher than 10% and four districts had positivity rates ranging from 5% to 10% over the same period, despite the fact that the state’s positivity rate for the week ending April 19 was 2.19%, which is lower than the national average of 5.5%.
Bhushan stated that Tamil Nadu has reported a rise in weekly cases, going from 356 in the week ending April 13 to 510 in the week ending April 20. The week ending April 19 saw a 6% positive rate reported by the state.
Additionally, it was stated that in the week ending April 19, 11 districts recorded positivity rates greater than 10% and 12 districts reported positivity rates between 5% and 10%.
From 181 cases in the week ending April 13 to 435 cases in the week ending April 20, Rajasthan reported an increase in cases. In the week ending April 19, it provided a positive rate of 5.81 percent, according to Bhushan.
He also mentioned that, in the week ending April 19, 11 districts reported a positivity percentage between 5 and 10%, and six districts recorded a positivity rate greater than 10%.
From 774 instances in the week ending April 13 to 872 cases in the week ending April 20, Maharashtra has reported an increase in weekly cases. In the week ending April 19, the state reported a positive rate of 6.87 percent, he said.
He added that in the week ending April 19, positive rates were reported in 8 districts at or above 10%, and in 9 districts at or below 10%.
According to Bhushan, Karnataka recorded a rise in weekly cases from 268 in the week ending April 13 to 369 in the week ending April 20, while Kerala reported an increase in weekly cases from 2,139 in the week ending April 13 to 2,602 in the week ending April 20.
While the district of Bengaluru Urban reported a high positivity rate of 6.7 per cent during the same period, Karnataka reported a positivity rating of 2.83 per cent for the week ending April 19, which is lower than the national average.
As opposed to Delhi, where there was an increase from 741 instances in the week ending April 13 to 1,471 cases in the week ending April 20, Haryana experienced an increase from 445 cases in the week ending April 13 to 910 cases in the week ending April 20.
In the week ending April 19, Delhi reported a positivity rate of 29.65%, which is significantly higher than India’s positivity rate of 5.5% for the same time.
Furthermore, all 11 districts recorded positive rates greater than 10%, it was revealed.