KOLKATA: In the wake of rising cases of Covid-19, the Centre on Saturday asked the governments of Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana to ramp up vaccination and testing.
In a letter to health secretaries of seven worst-affected states, the Union health ministry cautioned them against the rise of Covid infections further during festivals in the upcoming months.
The ministry asked the states to diligently follow a five-fold strategy, including ramping up Covid testing, genome sequencing, and enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour.
In his letter, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan directed the states to “monitor and report district-wise Influenza-like illness (ILI) and cases of SARI (severe acute respiratory infections) in all health facilities as per the guidelines”.
He said that the regular reporting will help detect early warning signals of the spread of the highly-contagious disease.
Warning states against possible surge in cases, the ministry said, “Upcoming months are likely to witness mass gatherings in context of various festivities to be held in different parts of the country, leading to large numbers of individuals undertaking intra and interstate journeys or congregating at the same places.”
“This may potentially facilitate transmission of infectious diseases, including Covid-19,” the letter reads.
The seven states, including capital Delhi, have been witnessing a rise in Covid infections since late May this year.
In Delhi, the weekly positivity rate increased from 5.90 per cent in the week ending July 29 to 9.86 per cent in the week ending August 5 with eight districts reporting more than 10 per cent positivity rate.
One of the worst-affected states during the last three waves, Maharashtra, has been reporting high average daily new cases since the past one month – 2,135 average cases per day. The state reported 1,862 new cases on Friday, August 5.
Five districts of Kerala are reporting more than 10 per cent of weekly positivity rate, the letter said.
Some of India’s experienced doctors treating Covid-19 told The New Indian that following Covid appropriate behaviour, recommended by authorities from time to time, is key to tackling the surge.
The lackadaisical attitude among the public towards government instructions with regard to Covid-19 is one of the factors behind this rise, a doctor said.
The Union health ministry has been in regular touch with states that are witnessing a surge. In June, the Union health minister held a high-level review meeting followed by another one chaired by the health secretary.