In wake of an uptick in Covid-19 cases in the country, the Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written letters to eight states witnessing the rising numbers of covid cases to strengthen the surveillance measures and monitor the trends of the cases.
In the letter to states – Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, and Haryana, Mr. Bhushan has instructed to closely monitor Severe Acute Respiratory Infection and Influenza-like Illness trends, increase testing, and submit more samples for genome sequencing. Health Secretary has asked the states to strengthen the coronavirus surveillance in all the districts and maintain adequate levels of testing while maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and Antigen tests.
“The country has been witnessing a consistent rise in COVID-19 cases since March, with 10,262 cases reported in the week ending April 20. A rise in positivity rate has also been noted across the country, with 5.5 per cent positivity reported in the week ending April 19 against 4.7 per cent positivity reported in the previous week”, said Mr Bhushan, adding that this is a cause of concern.
“While the five-fold strategy for control of pandemics, i.e. Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour remains the time-tested approach, it is crucial for the state health department to institute prompt and effective public health measures with key focus on strengthening surveilliance in all districts”, health secretary has said in the letter.
“Increase the number of covid-19-positive samples sent for Whole Genomic Sequencing through the INSACOG network of laboratories, especially from any new clusters of cases detected in the community. Ensure readiness of hospital infrastructure and maintain availability of essential drugs, equipment and trained manpower,” Bhushan has said.
The states have also been asked to ensure operational readiness and adequate strengthening of hospital infrastructure, especially at the sub-district levels in terms of availability of essential drugs and equipment and adequately trained manpower. Adequate financial support has already been provided to all states under various financial packages and PM-ABHIM.
The states have also been asked to encourage vaccine uptake among eligible beneficiaries, counter vaccine hesitancy through community awareness, and promote early symptom reporting. Mr Bhushan said, “The Pandemic is still not over, and we must remain cautious against laxity ay any level which may nullify the gains made in pandemic management so far”.
As per the letter sent to states, Uttar Pradesh has reported an increase in weekly cases from 279 in week ending April 13 to 696 in week ending 20 April. As for Tamil Nadu, the state has reported an increase in weekly cases from 356 in the week ending April 13 to 510 in the week ending April 20. Rajasthan reported an increase in cases from 181 week ending April13 to 435 week ending April 20. Maharashtra has reported an increase in weekly cases from 774 in the week ending April 13 to 872 in the week ending April 20. The state reported a positivity rate of 6.87 per cent in the week ending April 19.
Kerala reported an increase in weekly cases from 2,139 in week ending April 13 to 2,602 in week ending April 20 while Karnataka reported a rise in weekly cases from 268 in week ending April 13 to 369 in week ending April 20. Haryana saw an increase in weekly cases from 445 in the week ending April 13 to 910 in the week ending April 20 whereas in Delhi, there was an increase in weekly cases from 741 in the week ending April 13 to 1,471 in the week ending April 20.