Central government orders urgent action against COVID outbreak in some states

The Department of Health has warned it is particularly concerned that the coming months could see mass gatherings

The Department of Health has warned it is particularly concerned that the coming months could see mass gatherings

The central government has written to the governments of Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and Karnataka following a steady increase in the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases over the past weeks.

Given some changes in the symptoms and clinical manifestations of the disease, it was crucial to monitor and report cases of influenza-like illness (III) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) in all health facilities in accordance with the guidelines, the central government said.

It was essential to detect early warning signals of the spread of infection. “This will enable us to take preventive action where necessary, in all areas of concern,” the ministry said.

The Ministry of Health said it was particularly concerned as the coming months were likely to see mass gatherings as part of various festivities to be held in different parts of the country.

“This will lead to large numbers of individuals undertaking intra- and interstate travel or congregating in the same places. This can potentially facilitate the transmission of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. »

“It is critical that states ensure adequate testing in all districts while maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and Antigen testing. States must also closely monitor districts reporting higher cases, positivity rates and clusters to prevent further spread of infection and effective case management,’ he added.

The Center said the challenges ahead have been repeatedly highlighted, but the steady rise in cases indicates the need for increased action at the state level to contain the spread.

States were also asked to ensure effective compliance with these guidelines and their regular follow-up. Equally important was the genome sequencing of prescribed samples from international passengers as well as the collection of samples from sentinel sites (identified health facilities) and a local cluster of new COVID-19 cases, the ministry said. .

The department, in its communication, added that these samples must be sent promptly by the state/union territory to the designated laboratory of the INSACOG network for genome sequencing. Renewed attention must be given to ensuring COVID-appropriate behavior in crowded places such as markets, interstate bus stops, schools, colleges, train stations, etc.

There was a need to promote COVID-appropriate behavior through awareness and public campaigns, with the active participation of local community leaders and other influencers.

States have also been instructed to increase the rate of vaccination for all eligible populations and to expedite the administration of free precautionary doses to eligible populations at all government COVID Vaccination Centers (CVCs).

“States should follow this five-pronged strategy of testing, tracking, treating, vaccinating, and adhering to appropriate COVID behavior within the community,” the letter reads.

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