After fresh spike in numbers, states & UTs asked to keep close watch on rising COVID infections

After fresh spike in numbers, states & UTs asked to keep close watch on rising COVID infections

The health ministry warned that it is critical to maintain optimum testing for Covid-19, equitably distributed (with suitable modifications to address the emergence of new clusters of Covid cases) across the states.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Sunday, March 26, 2023, 08:16 AM IST
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Representative Image | ANI Photo

Mumbai: For the third time in March, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has instructed all states and Union Territories to keep a close watch on the rising Covid-19 and influenza cases. As per the directives, Covid-19 cases in the country have risen since mid-February.

“In the past several weeks, in some states, Covid-19 testing has declined and the current testing levels are insufficient as compared to the standards prescribed by the World Health Organization, i.e. 140 tests/million. Testing at the level of districts and blocks also varies, with some states heavily relying on the less sensitive rapid antigen tests,” the communication to states, UTs read.

States with most COVID-19 infections

As on date, most of the active Covid-19 cases in the country are largely being reported by a few states like Kerala (26.4%), Maharashtra (21.7%), Gujarat (13.9%), Karnataka (8.6%) and Tamil Nadu (6.3%).

The health ministry warned that it is critical to maintain optimum testing for Covid-19, equitably distributed (with suitable modifications to address the emergence of new clusters of Covid cases) across the states.

“This is especially important to identify any emerging hotspots and take pre-emptive steps to curb virus transmission,” the order read. However the Maharashtra health department has directed all the district health officers to be well prepared for handling covid and influenza cases.

Moreover they have also asked to look for SARI and ILI patients.

“A new Covid-19 sub-variant is on the rise. Four of the five states that have detected XBB.1.16 have reported an increase in their case count over the last three weeks. However there is no evidence of any increase in disease severity, hospitalisation and mortality,” said a doctor.

Union Health Ministry speaks about hospital preparedness

The Union Health Ministry also asked the states to take stock of hospital preparedness, including drugs, beds including lCU beds; medical equipment, medical oxygen, capacity building of human resources on existing guidelines, as well as vaccination coverage.

The order stated that a nationwide mock drill is being planned on April 10 and 11, wherein health facilities (both public and private) from all districts are expected to participate. The details of the mock-drill will be communicated to the states in a virtual meeting scheduled on March 27.

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