A medical worker takes a swab sample from a passenger for a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) Covid-19 coronavirus test at the railway station in New Delhi.(AFP)
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a passenger for a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) Covid-19 coronavirus test at the railway station in New Delhi.(AFP)

Centre backs testing, identifying mutant strain in 8 Covid-19 hotspot states

Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir have been advised not to lower their guard, enforce Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and deal firmly with violations.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Arpan Rai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 07:28 PM IST

The Centre on Saturday emphasised heavily on testing and identifying the mutant strains among other measures in the 6 Indian states worst affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), resulting in the surge in the country's daily caseload.

This comes after Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level review meeting with chief secretaries of states and Union territories and stressed the need for effective testing, comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation of positive cases and quick quarantine of close contacts.

Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir are the eight states and UTs reporting a high active caseload or an increasing trend in new cases in the last week, data by the health ministry showed.

Gauba has asked the states need to maintain a continued rigorous vigil in terms of containing the spread and not squander away the gains of the collective hard work of the last year. The states have been advised not to lower their guard, enforce Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and deal firmly with violations.

The Cabinet secretary has asked states to reduce the surge in cases by taking these steps:

  • Improve the overall testing in districts reporting a reduction in testing
  • Increase the RT- PCR tests in states and districts having high antigen testing
  • Refocus on surveillance and stringent containment in selected districts reporting reduced tests/high positivity and increased cases
  • Monitor mutant strain and clustering of cases for early hotspot identification and control
  • Focus on clinical management in districts reporting higher deaths
  • Undertake priority vaccination in districts reporting higher cases
  • Promote COVID-appropriate behaviour ensure effective citizen communication to not let complacency set in, especially in light of vaccination drive entering the next phase; and enforcing stringent social distancing measures.

Six states - Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat- have shown a surge in new cases in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 8,333. It is followed by Kerala with 3,671 while Punjab reported 622 new cases in the last 24 hours. In the last two weeks, Maharashtra has shown the highest rise in active cases from 34,449 on February 14 to 68,810 currently.

The review meeting was attended by the Chief Secretaries and senior health professionals of the States and UTs along with the Union Health Secretary, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), NITI Aayog Empowered Group members, and representatives from the Home Ministry.

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