'Test, Track and Treat': Centre to 8 states, UTs amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Eight states and union territories have been told to adapt the effective strategy of "test, track and treat" as it has yeilded results at the height of the novel coronavirus pandemic, said the centre today. Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and union territories of Delhi and Chandigarh - have been told to increase testing, contact tracing and accelerate vaccination for priority groups in the worst-hit districts.

In a statement, the Union Health Ministry said that sixty-three districts in the eight states and union territories "continue to be of concern as these districts are seeing a decrease in total tests being conducted, low share of RT-PCR tests, increase in weekly positivity and low number of contact tracing of the COVID positive cases. These together can pose high risk of transmission to the neighboring states and union territories," the Health Ministry said.

As identified by the government, nine districts are in Delhi, 15 are in Haryana, 10 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Odisha, nine in Himachal Pradesh, seven in Uttarakhand, two in Goa, and one in Chandigarh.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Dr Vinod K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog have advised the states to make optimal use of the available vaccine doses and focus on critical districts, and collaborate with the private hospitals to open up vaccination time-table for a minimum of 15 days and maximum of 28 days at a time, during a meeting with health secretaries of these states.

As Maharashtra and Punjab witness a surge in cases, high level teams have been deployed to assist the state health departments in COVID-19 surveillance, control and containment measures. These teams have been given the task to confirm the reason for the surge in the infections.

With over 21 lakh infections, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases so far. While Punjab has recorded a total of 1.86 lakh cases so far, it reported over 800 fresh infections on March 5 - third highest number of cases in the country in 24 hours.

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Free Press Journal