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Centre writes to 5 states over rise in Covid cases, weekly positivity rates

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Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan
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NEW DELHI:

In view of a surge in COVID-19 cases over the past week and in the weekly positivity rate, the Centre on Saturday advised five states to maintain a strict watch and take pre-emptive action, if needed, to control any emerging spread of the infection.

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In a letter to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan highlighted that a few states were reporting a higher contribution to India’s caseload, indicating the possibility of a localised spread of the infection.

”There is, therefore, a need to follow a risk assessment-based approach on the public health responses without losing the gains made so far in the fight against the pandemic,” Bhushan said.

In the letter, he mentioned a sustained and significant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases has been observed in India over the past three months.

However, a slight upsurge in cases is being noticed, with 15,708 new infections being reported in a week ending on May 27, which rose to 21,055 cases in a week ending on June 3.

Also, there is a rise in the weekly positivity from 0.52 per cent in a week ending May 27, 2022 to 0.73 per cent in a week ending June 3.

States have been asked to refer to the directions issued in a letter by the ministry dated April 8, 2022 for strategic areas of intervention like relaxation in various activities, testing and surveillance, clinical management, vaccination, and community engagement with an increased focus on evidence-based decision making.

They have been advised to continue implementation and monitoring of necessary measures for prompt and effective management of COVID-19 and to ensure compliance with various advisories issued by the ministry.

The five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour should be followed, along with monitoring of clusters of new COVID-19 cases and adequate testing as per guidelines, Bhushan said in the letter.

Focus should also be on monitoring of Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and SARI cases in all health facilities on a regular basis for detecting early warning signals of the spread of infection and genomic sequencing for prescribed samples of international passengers, collection of samples from sentinel sites (identified health facilities), and local clusters of cases.

According to the letter, Tamil Nadu has reported an increase in weekly new cases from 335 in the week ending on May 27 to 659 in the week ending on June 3, accounting for 3.13 per cent of India’s new cases in the week ending on June 3.

The state has also seen an increase in positivity in the last week from 0.4 per cent to 0.8 per cent.

While analyzing district-wide COVID-19 situations, it has been observed that two districts, Chennai and Chengalpattu, have recorded an increase in weekly cases and positivity, and it requires focused intervention from the state administration, the letter stated.

Kerala has reported an increase in weekly new cases from 4,139 new infections in the week ending on May 27 to 6,556 in the week ending on June 3, accounting for 31.14 per cent of India’s new cases in the week ending on June 3.

The state saw an increase in positivity in the last week from 5.2 per cent to 7.8 per cent, Bhushan mentioned in the letter.

While analyzing district-wide COVID-19 situation, it was observed that 11 districts – Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Alappuzha, Kollam, Kannur, Malappuram and Wayanad – have recorded an increase in weekly cases and positivity, he said.

It is a matter of concern that 11 out of 14 districts are reporting a rise in cases and positivity which require focused intervention from the state administration, he added.

Telangana, the letter highlighted, has reported an increase in weekly new cases from 287 new infections in the week ending on May 27 to 375 new infections in the week ending on June 3, accounting for 1.78 per cent of India’s new cases in week ending on June 3. It has also seen an increase in the positivity in the last week from 0.4 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

Maharashtra has reported an increase in weekly new cases from 2,471 new infections in the week ending on May 27 to 4,883 in the week ending June 3, accounting for 23.19 per cent of India’s new cases in week ending on June 3.

The state has also seen an increase in positivity in the last week from 1.5 per cent to 3.1 per cent, the letter stated.

It has been observed that six districts – Mumbai Suburban, Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Raigad and Palghar – have recorded an increase in weekly cases and positivity which require focused intervention from the administration, it added.

Karnataka has reported an increase in weekly new cases from 1,003 new infections in the week ending on May 27 to 1,446 in the week ending on June 3, accounting for 6.87 per cent of India’s new cases in week ending on June 3.

It has also seen an increase in positivity in the last week from 0.8 per cent to 1.1 per cent, the letter said.

Bengaluru Urban has recorded an increase in weekly cases and positivity which requires focused intervention from the state, it stated. PTI

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