The Union Health Department has written to eight states and UTs to improve testing, strengthen hospital preparedness, increase the pace and coverage of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and ensure strict enforcement of restrictions to counter the spread of infection.
In the letter, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan called on Delhi, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Jharkhand to be vigilant given the recent increase in domestic travel and various events such as weddings, festive celebrations, and recently completed or ongoing vacations.
With the onset of winter and increasing pollution in some states, the prevalence of ILI / SARI and symptoms of respiratory distress should be closely monitored, he said in a letter dated December 29. .
The letter came as the country reported a single-day increase of more than 13,000 new cases of COVID-19 after about 49 days and Omicron variant cases jumped to 961.
Bhushan said it has been found that there has been an increase in cases and a decrease in case detection doubling time in a few states.
Delhi has reported a sudden and significant increase in cases over the past two weeks.
“This issue needs to be addressed proactively and immediately to ensure that neither transmission spreads further nor that we reach a situation of increased mortality due to late detection of cases,” the letter said.
As for Gujarat, the letter pointed out that the districts of Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat have reported a sudden and significant increase in cases in the past two weeks.
Ranchi from Jharkhand, Bengaluru Urban from Karnataka, Gurgaon from Haryana, Chennai from Tamil Nadu, Mumbai from Maharashtra, Mumbai Suburban, Pune, Thane and Nagpur and Kolkata from West Bengal have also reported a sudden and significant increase in cases over the past two weeks, he said.
The ministry therefore advised those states / UTs to take immediate action such as targeted enhanced testing, with the relationship between RT-PCR and RAT maintained, and to proceed with proactive contact tracing and isolation / quarantine of contacts of positive cases, their tests and follow-up.
He also advised to set up containment zones and buffer zones in accordance with existing SOPS, strengthen preparedness at hospital level, ensure optimal use of financial resources under ECRP2, increase the pace and coverage of the Covid vaccination campaign, adherence to appropriate Covid behavior, and the application of strict rules and appropriate restrictions to counter the spread of infection.
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