COVID Surge: Centre Asks States To Ramp Up Testing, Genome Sequencing

OB Bureau

New Delhi: With COVID-19 cases showing a significant surge in India, there is concern that a fourth wave is around the corner.

As many as 7,240 new cases were reported on Thursday, which represents nearly 40% jump compared to the previous day and the highest single day caseload since March.

Though 80% of the fresh cases were from four states only — Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala and Karnataka — the Central government is not ready to take any chances.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday advised all states and union territories to maintain a strict watch, take pre-emptive measures and increase testing to control a possible spread of COVID-19 infection, reported India Today.

“In the week ending June 8, 4207 average daily new cases were reported as compared to 2663 average daily new cases in the week ending June 1. There has also been an increase in daily positivity rate from 0.63 per cent to 1.12 per cent,” Bhushan wrote in his letter to the states and UTs.

“Given the significance of adequate testing in early identification of cases and providing an accurate picture of the level of infection spread, it is required that states/UTs must ensure high level of testing in all such areas that are reporting new cases/cluster of cases,” the Health secretary added.

Additionally, the government has asked states and UTs to enhance monitoring of Influenza like Illness (ILI) to detect early warning signals of infection spread.

“Genome sequencing of prescribed samples of international passengers as well as collection of samples from Sentinel sites and local cluster of new COVID cases is equally important. Such samples must be sent promptly by the state/UT to the designated lab for genome sequencing,” the government said.

OB Bureau

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