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Centre asks states/UTs to ensure high level of testing in areas reporting new Covid cases


The Centre on Thursday asked all states and Union territories to ensure high level of testing in areas reporting new or cluster of COVID-19 cases while emphasising the need to follow the five-fold strategy of combating the disease.

This strategy is test-track-treat, vaccination and Covid appropriate behaviour.

In a letter to the states/UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in the past two weeks, an upsurge in cases has been noticed even as there has been a sustained and significant decline in the number of cases across the country during the past four months.

In the week ending June 8, 4,207 average daily new cases were reported as compared to 2,663 average daily cases in the week ending June 1, he highlighted in the letter.

There has also been an increase in the weekly positivity rate from 0.63 per cent (week ending June 1) to 1.12 per cent (week ending June 8).

In the last 24 hours, 7,240 new coronavirus cases have been reported in India, out of which, 81 per cent cases have been reported from Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and Karnataka (in descending order of number of new cases reported).

Bhushan said specific strategic areas of intervention for states/UTs like testing and surveillance, clinical management, vaccination, Covid appropriate behaviour and community engagement with an increased focus on evidence-based decision-making was underlined.

“Given the significance of adequate testing in early identification of cases and providing an accurate picture of the level of infection spread, it is required that states/UTs must ensure high level of testing in all such areas that are reporting new cases/cluster of cases,” he said.

The health secretary also advised the states and Union territories (UTs) to monitor average daily testing per million as well as share of RT-PCR in total tests conducted.

“This will enable states/UTs to take timely pre-emptive action wherever required,” the letter stated.

States/UTs must also enhance monitoring of Influenza like Illness (ILI) and SARI cases in all health facilities on a regular basis for detecting early warning signals of the spread of infection, he stressed.

Genome sequencing of prescribed samples of international passengers as well as collection of samples from sentinel sites (identified health facilities) and local cluster of new COVID-19 cases is equally important.

Such samples must be sent promptly by state/UTs to designated lab of INSACOG network for genome sequencing, Bhushan underlined.

States/UTs have also 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 should be followed diligently and enforcement be monitored regularly.

“States/UTs must not lower their guard and continue working towards building on the progress made thus far to bring the pandemic situation under control,” Bhushan added.


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