As covid cases mount, Centre asks states to increase RT-PCR tests, surveillance

News24

LAST UPDATED: Feb. 21, 2021, 4:19 p.m.

New Delhi: For the fifth consecutive day, India has seen an upward trend in the coronavirus cases. In view of resurgence of Covid infections in as many as six Indian states, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday urged all the states and union territories to improve RT-PCR testing rate and added they should refocus on surveillance and revise containment measures as per the need of the hour. 

The states and UTs have been advised to work on five major areas:

* Improve the overall testing numbers by focusing on increasing the proportion of RT-PCR tests

* All negative Rapid Antigen Test results to be mandatorily followed by RT-PCR test and no such negative persons are to be missed

* Refocus on strict and comprehensive surveillance as well as stringent containment in selected districts

* Regular monitoring of the mutant strains through testing followed by Genome Sequencing, as well as monitoring of the emerging cluster of cases

* Focusing on clinical management in districts reporting higher deaths

India has been witnessing a rise in the active caseload over the past few days which pegged at 1,45,634 on Sunday consisting of 1.32 per cent of the total positive cases.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed that more than 74 per cent of the active cases are in Kerala and Maharashtra while it is on rise in four more states and UT. “Of late it is seen that there has been a spike in the daily cases in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also. Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir too are witnessing a surge in daily new cases,” it said.

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Meanwhile, in the last four weeks in Kerala, the average weekly cases have fluctuated between a high of 42,000 to a low of 34,800. Similarly, in the last four weeks, the weekly positivity in Kerala has ranged from 13.9 per cent to 8.9 per cent.

The ministry also said that in Kerala, Alappuzha district is a cause of special concern where the weekly positivity rate has increased to 10.7 per cent and weekly cases have risen to 2,833.

In Maharashtra, in the last four weeks, the weekly cases have shown a rising trend and have increased from 18,200 to 21,300, while the weekly positivity has also increased from 4.7 per cent to 8 per cent, the ministry informed.

“The areas of concern are the Mumbai Suburban areas where the weekly cases have risen by 19 per cent. In Nagpur, Amravati, Nashik, Akola and Yavatmal the weekly cases have increased by 33, 47, 23, 55 and 48 per cent, respectively,” it added.

Meanwhile, Punjab is rapidly assuming a critical dimension in respect of the spread of Covid-19 infection. In the last four weeks, the weekly positivity rate in the state has increased from 1.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent, while the weekly cases in the last four weeks have seen a rise from 1,300 to 1,682.

The ministry also said that in the Punjab district of SBS Nagar alone, the weekly positivity rate has become 4.9 per cent from 3.5 per cent and the weekly cases have more than doubled from 165 to 364.

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