Centre asks states, UTs to maintain strict vigil on Covid situation

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Medics collect swab samples of passengers for Covid-19 test at Rani Kamlapati railway station in Bhopal on 7 December 2021|PTI

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New Delhi: Drawing attention towards three states where eight districts have been reporting over 10 per cent Covid positivity rate, the Centre has asked all states and union territories to maintain strict watch on the situation with focussed district level measures for containment of clusters of new cases.

In a letter to states and union territories (UTs), Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said 19 districts in Kerala, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Manipur, West Bengal and Nagaland have been reporting positivity rates between five and 10 per cent in the last two weeks.

The COVID-19 positivity rate has been more than 10 per cent in eight districts in Mizoram, Kerala and Sikkim in the last two weeks, he said.

“Thus, these 27 districts need to be monitored very closely,” Bhushan said in the letter.

He said that in this context, it is imperative for states and UTs to maintain a strict watch on the situation with focussed district level measures for containment of clusters of new COVID-19 cases.

“In case of any district reporting a surge in cases, or rise in positivity rates, intensive action and local containment as per the containment framework must be initiated,” Bhushan said.

“The strategic containment interventions in identified areas with test positivity rate of over 10 per cent or over 60 per cent bed occupancy on either two supported or ICU beds, include night curfews, restricting intermingling of people, prohibition of congregations (social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, festival-related), curtailment of attendees in marriages and funerals or last rites, etc,” he said.

Testing and surveillance interventions include ramping up testing and active case search, testing of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) cases through rapid antigen tests (RAT) and retesting by RTPCR of symptomatic RAT negative tests, the secretary said.

“Strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour at all places and at all times must also be rigorously enforced and aggressively monitored,” Bhushan said.

He said that adequate advance information to the community, highlighting the need for stringent containment actions to achieve community involvement and support are also mandated in the framework issued by the health ministry.

The actions can also be reviewed regularly at the state level to ensure strict adherence to guidelines, Bhushan said.

Also read: 39% Indians paid bribe for Covid treatment at hospital during 2nd wave, survey finds


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