NEW DELHI: With Covid-19 cases keep registering an increase in parts of the country, the central government has asked seven states to ensure adequate testing, promote Covid-appropriate behaviour and increase the pace of vaccination to contain the spread.
In a letter to Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that Oisha has been reporting high average daily new cases since past one month with a high of 1,790 new cases reported on 5. August 2022. The State has also contributed to 5% of India’s weekly new cases and a high positivity of 4.85% in week ending 5 August.
The challenges which need to be addressed have been highlighted to the State multiple times. But the consistent increase as indicated above brings to fore the need for heightened action at the State level to contain the spread of cases.
Upcoming months are likely to witness mass gatherings in context of various festivities to be held in different parts of the country, leading to large number of individuals undertaking intra and interstate journey or congregating at same places. This may potentially facilitate transmission of infectious diseases, including Covid-19.
It is critical for the state to ensure adequate testing is undertaken in all the districts of the state while maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and Antigen tests. The state must also closely monitor districts reporting higher cases, positivity rates and clusters to prevent further spread of infection and effective case management.
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) & 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.
Genome Sequencing of prescribed samples of international passengers as well as collection of samples from Sentinel Sites (identified health facilities) and local cluster of new Covid-19 cases is equally important. Such samples must be sent promptly by the State/UT to the designated lab of INSACOG network for Genome Sequencing.
Renewed attention needs to be paid for ensuring of Covid Appropriate Behaviour in crowded places like markets, inter-state bus stands, schools, colleges, railway stations, etc. Three is a need to promote Covid Appropriate Behaviour through sensitization and public awareness campaigns, with active participation of local community leaders and other influencers.
State should aim to increase the pace of vaccination for all eligible population and accelerate the administration of free precaution doses for 18+ eligible population at all Government Covid Vaccination Centers (CVCs) under the `COVID Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav’ till 30. September 2022.
State is advised to diligently follow the five-fold strategy, i.e., Test-Track- Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour within the community.