The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has written to four southern states, asking them to focus on controlling the sudden increase in viral infections.
The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday, 16 March, has written to Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka and asked them to place stress on testing, treating, tracking, and vaccination. Apart from these states, the government has also written to Maharashtra and Gujarat.
On Wednesday, Kerala reported 100 new cases of Covid-19, while Karnataka reported 119 cases, Telangana reported 54 cases, and Tamil Nadu reported 44 cases.
A worrying rise
“There are a few states that are reporting a higher number of cases, indicating the possible localised spread of infection and there is a need to follow a risk assessment-based approach to prevent and contain the infection, without losing the gains made so far in the fight against the pandemic,” the letter stated.
India had observed a significant decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in past few months. However, in the past few weeks, a rise in cases has been noted, specifically in certain parts of the country with 2,082 cases reported in the week ending 8 March, which rose to 3,264 cases in the week ending 15 March, stated the letter.
Karnataka has reported an increase in weekly cases from 493 in the week ending 8 March to 604 in the week ending 15 March. Further, the state reported a positivity rate of 2.77 percent in the week ending 15 March, which is higher than India’s positivity rate of 0.61 percent during the same period.
Telangana has reported an increase in weekly cases from 132 in the week ending 8 March to 267 in the week ending 15 March. Further, the state reported a positivity rate of 0.31 percent in the week ending 15 March.
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The letter advised states to examine the Covid situation at the micro level (district and sub-districts) and maintain focus on implementation of necessary measures for prompt and effective management, “duly ensuring effective compliance with various advisories issued by this ministry”.
The strategy — Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination — should be followed with continued focus on adequate and proactive testing, monitoring new and emerging clusters of new Covid-19 cases, monitoring of Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses (SARIs) cases in all health facilities, or through dedicated fever clinics on a regular basis for detecting early warning signals of the spread of infection.
The ministry also asked the states to continue genomic sequencing for prescribed samples of international passengers, collection of samples from sentinel sites (identified health facilities) and local clusters of cases, proactive promotion to increase administration of precaution dose for all eligible beneficiaries, and Covid appropriate behaviour.
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Covid at a glance
More than 700 Covid cases were recorded in a day after a gap of over four months, taking the active caseload to 4,623, according to data updated by the Union Health Ministry on Thursday morning.
Active cases now comprise 0.01 percent of the total infections, while the national Covid recovery rate has been recorded at 98.80 percent, according to the Health Ministry website.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,41,57,297, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.19 percent.
220.64 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide Covid vaccination drive.