Centre sends advisory to seven states as COVID cases spike

In a letter to Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, the Union Health Secretary cautioned the states against the upcoming festivals and mass congregations that may facilitate the spread of infection

India reported 19,406 new cases in the last 24 hours with a daily positivity rate of 4.96%. Representational image.

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country, the Union government has written to Delhi and six other states, emphasising on the need to increase vigilance, ensure adequate testing and promote COVID-appropriate behaviour.

In a letter to Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan cautioned the states against the upcoming festivals and mass congregations that may facilitate the spread of infection.

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The central government has also asked the states to increase the pace of vaccination to curb the surge in cases.

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The Health Secretary wrote, “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.”

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“States should aim to increase the pace of vaccination for all eligible population and accelerate the administration of free precaution doses for 18-plus eligible population at all Government Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) under the ‘COVID Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav’ till September 30,” he added.

In his letter to Delhi, Bhushan said that the national capital has been reporting high average daily new cases (811 cases) for the past month with a high of 2,202 new cases reported on August 5.

Delhi has contributed 8.2% of the country’s weekly new cases in the week ending August 5. It also saw 1.86 times rise in average daily new cases from 802 in the week ending July 29 to 1,492 in the present week.

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Delhi on Friday registered 2,419 fresh infections crossing the 2,000-mark for the third consecutive day. The positivity rate in the state stood at 12.95%.

While Delhi’s tally has increased by 701 more infections, Karnataka’s by 336 and Telangana’s by 61 cases as per the Union Health ministry data.

Bhushan said Kerala reported 2,347 average cases per day in the past month and Maharashtra 2,135 cases. He also cited district-wise spread of infection.

The Health Secretary said that it is critical for the states to ensure adequate testing is undertaken with maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and Antigen tests.

Bhushan said that the states also need to closely monitor districts reporting higher cases, higher positivity rates and cluster formation to prevent the further spread of infection.

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The letter also stated that in view of some changes in symptoms of the disease, it is crucial for states to monitor and report district-wise influenza-like illness in all health facilities as per the guidelines.

Genome Sequencing of samples of international passengers coming to the states, samples collected from Sentinel Sites (identified health facilities) and samples of local clusters was also stressed in the letter.

Bhushan also advised the states to ensure COVID-appropriate behaviour in crowded places such as markets, bus stands, schools, colleges, railway stations and others.

States were advised to diligently follow the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat vaccinate and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour within the community.

India reported 19,406 new cases in the last 24 hours with a daily positivity rate of 4.96%.

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