Amid the threat of a third COVID wave breaking out in the country, the Centre issues a stern warning to states today (July 31) to impose stringent COVID-19 curbs in districts with more than 10 per cent positivity rates and to ramp up vaccination in the vulnerable 60+ and 45-60 age categories since 80 per cent of the deaths happen in this age group.
This warning to the states has been given after the Centre made a “fresh review” of the COVID-19 situation in the country. This review meeting was held by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and also attended by the Indian Council of Medical Research’s director general Dr Balram Bhargava, besides top health officials from the states, said media reports.
According to a statement issued by the Union Health Ministry, 12 states are under the scanner by the Centre because they have recorded a spike in new COVID cases or seen a rise in positivity cases in the last few weeks.
They are Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Manipur. Moreover, 46 districts were recording more than 10 per cent positivity rate, while 53 districts were recording a positivity rate between 5-10 per cent.
Therefore, the Centre has cautioned the states to be alert and ramp up testing and warned that “any laxity” at this stage would result in deterioration of the situation in these districts, NDTV reported.
The states were told that districts registering a positivity rate of more than 10 per cent in the last few weeks should impose stringent COVID-19 rules. This will prevent people from moving around, collecting in crowds and mingling with each other and stem the spread of the infection.
The Centre also advised the states to closely monitor people in home-isolation in the states (80 per cent of new patients were under home-isolation). This would help the chain of transmission to break. Also, the states should ensure COVID-19 patients are seamlessly moved to hospitals and get timely clinical treatment. The Health Ministry had already shared exhaustive SOPs covering different aspects of “effective clinical management of COVID-19 patients in hospitals”, the statement said, added media reports.
New variants in India have to be screened by tapping into the INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) laboratory network for genomic surveillance, the states were told. They should also monitor international travellers. The states were also reminded to ensure that private hospital set up PSA (Pressure swing adsorption) oxygen generation plants to avoid a repeat of the situation when COVID-19 patients were scrambling for oxygen.