Odisha Govt Directs Districts To Increase Testing & Surveillance Of COVID-19

Bhubaneswar: With the Centre issuing an advisory to the states to review public health preparedness in the wake of reports of a surge in respiratory illness in children in China and a single-day rise of 31 new coronavirus infections in the country, Odisha government has directed the districts to raise surveillance.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, Niranjan Mishra, Director of Public Health, said as per the advisory of the Centre, the state government has direction all districts to increase Covid testing and raise surveillance.

Claiming that no abnormal virus has been detected in the country yet, he said, “We will send the samples to the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) in Bhubaneswar if there is detection of any abnormal virus.”

“The Chinese authorities have confirmed that there is nothing abnormal regarding the recent pneumonia outbreak in their country. But the Centre has asked us to intensify our surveillance and make necessary arrangements to deal with any eventuality,” he added.

However, he assured that there was no reason to panic for the surge in respiratory illness among children in China. This is a usual phenomenon with the onset of winter season and cyclical trend of respiratory illnesses, he added.

In a letter to States and UTs, Union Health Secretary advised to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness measures including availability of HR, hospital beds, drugs & vaccines for influenza, medical oxygen, antibiotics, personal protective equipment, testing kits and reagents, functionality of oxygen plants and ventilators, infection control practices in health facilities, at a senior level.

The states and Union Territories were also advised to implement “Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19” shared earlier this year.

The states were asked to send nasal and throat swab samples of patients with severe acute respiratory illness (SARI), particularly of children and adolescents, to Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) for testing for respiratory pathogens.

“Recently, information shared by WHO has indicated an increase in respiratory illness in northern parts of China. This is predominantly attributed to usual causes like Influenza, Mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-CoV-2 etc. As per WHO, the release of COVID-19 restrictions coinciding with the onset of winter season in addition to cyclical trend of respiratory illnesses such as Mycoplasma pneumonia have led to this surge,” the letter said.

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