The Centre has told the governments in eight states and Union territories, recording a steep rise in daily cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), to return to the strategy of ‘test, track and treat,’ the Union ministry of health and family welfare said on Saturday.
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Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member Dr Vinod K Paul held a meeting with health secretaries of Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Chandigarh. They reviewed health measures for surveillance, containment and management of Covid-19 cases in the wake of increased positivity and increased number of daily infections in the recent days in these areas. According to the health ministry, a high active caseload is being reported from these eight states and UTs.
The health ministry said it was pointed out that nine districts in Delhi, 15 in Haryana, 10 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Odisha, nine in Himachal Pradesh, seven in Uttarakhand, two in Goa, one in Chandigarh continue to be of concern as they are witnessing a decrease in the number of tests being conducted, low share of RT-PCR tests, increase in weekly positivity and a low number of contact tracing of the Covid-19 positive cases. “These together can pose a high risk of transmission to the neighbouring States and UTs,” the ministry warned.
The Centre told states to promote Covid-19-appropriate behaviour through communication and enforcement and continue with the effective strategy of ‘test, track and treat’ that yielded rich dividends at the height of the pandemic. They were asked to improve overall testing in districts reporting a reduction in testing and increase the share of RT-PCR tests in districts dependent on high levels of antigen testing.
The central panel asserted states must refocus on surveillance and stringent containment of areas that have clusters of cases and must carry out an average close contact tracing of a minimum of 20 people per positive case.
The states must focus on clinical management, actuate their health infrastructure to provide effective clinical management to all the patients as a surge in cases also affects the case fatality rate. They also need to accelerate vaccination for priority population groups, make optimal use of the available vaccine doses and focus on critical districts, according to the health ministry statement. State authorities can also collaborate with the private hospitals to open up vaccination time-table for a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 28 days at a time, the government has said.
The states were also asked to actively watch out for super-spreading events and share their best practices in breaking the chain of transmission.
As of Saturday, India’s active caseload reached 180,304 with a single day spike of 18,327 cases of the coronavirus disease. The active cases currently account for 1.61% of the nation’s total positive cases.