COVID-19 Spike: Centre Urges 8 Hotspot States To Identify Mutant Strains

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New Delhi: The Union government has advised the COVID-19 hotspot states to emphasize on testing and identify the mutant strains of coronavirus resulting in the recent surge in India’s daily caseload.

The eight states/union territory which have reported most new coronavirus positive cases are Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana and Jammu & Kashmir as per data provided by the Union Health ministry.

At a high-level review meeting, chaired by Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Saturday, chief secretaries of states and union territories were asked to stress on effective testing, comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation of positive cases and quick quarantine of close contacts.

Gauba asked the states not to lower their guard, enforce strict COVID-19 behaviour and deal firmly with violations.

Maharashtra continued to report the highest daily cases at 8,333, followed by Kerala (3,671) and Punjab (622).

Centre has suggested following steps to reduce surge in cases:

* 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.

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