The Centre has advised states to increase the proportion of RT-PCR tests and regularly monitor mutant strains of COVID-19, amid a spike in cases around the country, especially in Kerala and Maharashtra.
In a letter, the government also asked them to improve surveillance and containment measures in selected districts.
In addition, all negative rapid antigen test results should be followed by the RT-PCR test, it said.
India has seen a rapid increase in its caseload over the past few weeks, pegged at 1,45,634 – 1.32 per cent of total infections. More than 74 per cent of these cases are in Kerala and Maharashtra.
“Of late it is seen that there has been a spike in the daily cases in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also. Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir too are witnessing a surge in daily new cases,” the letter said.
In Kerala average weekly cases have fluctuated between 42,000 and 34,800 over the past month. Alappuzha district is the worst hit; its weekly positivity rate has increased to 10.7 per cent and weekly cases have risen to 2,833, the health ministry said.
In Maharashtra, in the last four weeks, weekly cases have risen from 18,200 to 21,300; while the weekly positivity has also increased from 4.7 per cent to 8 per cent.
Mumbai suburban areas have seen an alarming increase – 19 per cent in weekly cases. In Nagpur, Amravati, Nashik, Akola and Yavatmal the weekly cases have increased by 33 per cent, 47 per cent, 23 per cent, 55 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively, the ministry said.
Amravati district will be under complete lockdown for a week, starting Monday, state cabinet minister Yashomati Thakur said.
In Punjab in the last four weeks, the weekly positivity rate has increased from 1.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent, while weekly cases have jumped from 1,300 to 1,682.