New Delhi [India]: Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday wrote to the governments of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, and Mizoram over the increasing positivity rate and cases and urged States, Union Territories to continue monitoring the spread of infection.
The ministry, in its official release, stated, “India has witnessed a sustained and significant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases over the past 2 months, with the country reporting about 1000 daily new cases for the past few weeks. The weekly positivity rate has remained below 1 per cent.”
“Recently, there are a few States which are reporting a higher contribution to India’s cases and higher positivity. This Ministry has advised all the States/UTs to follow a risk assessment-based approach on the opening of economic and social activities without losing the gains made so far in the fight against the pandemic,” it read.
The States and Union Territories are Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, and Mizoram.
The States/UTs were advised by the ministry to continue monitoring the spread of infection and undertake the required steps for prompt and effective management of COVID-19. “The five-fold strategy. i.e. Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour with particular emphasis on wearing of masks in crowded areas should be followed,” the ministry said.
The ministry advised States/UTs to monitor clusters of new COVID-19 cases and undertake required containment efforts for curing the spread of infection. Further, the health ministry conveyed to States/UTs that adequate testing as per guidelines is required and further undertake required steps in areas reporting high case positivity rate.
Monitoring of Influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) cases in all health facilities on a regular basis for detecting early warning signals of the spread of infection should be focused upon by States and UTs, Bhushan said.
Genomic sequencing for prescribed samples of international passengers, collection of samples from sentinel sites (identified health facilities as well as sewage samples), and local clusters of cases also needs to be ensured, Bhushan informed.
The ministry advised ensuring COVID-19 vaccination of eligible populations including the primary vaccination as well administration of precaution doses.
The Health Ministry said that it is essential for States/UTs to maintain a strict watch and take pre-emptive action if required in areas of concern to control any emerging spread of infection. “Testing and Surveillance still remain important to track the virus, its spread and evolution,” Bhushan said.
The ministry pointed out that laxity at any level may nullify the gains in pandemic management so far. “Regular monitoring and prompt follow up action in emerging areas of concern is crucial. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will continue to provide requisite support to the States in this ongoing and collective effort,” the letter read.
India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases is at 4,30,45,527 on Tuesday, while the active cases increased to 11,860, according to the Union Health Ministry. (ANI)