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Five states, one UT with high COVID-19 caseload asked to scale up testing

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New Delhi: The Centre has asked 5 states and one UT from where 35 districts have been reporting high active COVID-19 caseload and fatality rate to strengthen containment measures and scale up testing to bring down positivity rate below five per cent.

These 35 districts comprise all 11 districts in Delhi, Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and 24 South Parganas in West Bengal; Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban, Kolhapur, Sangli, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Raigad, Jalgaon, Solapur, Satara, Palghar, Aurangabad, Dhule and Nanded in Maharashtra; Surat in Gujarat; Pondicherry in Puducherry and East Singhbhum in Jharkhand.

In a review meeting held on Saturday, they were asked to ensure strict perimeter control, strengthen the active case search focusing on comorbids and elderly population, early identification by ramping up testing and optional utilization of RT-PCR testing capacity to break the chain of transmission of the disease, the Health ministry said on Sunday.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held the review meeting through video conference (VC) with health secretaries of five states and one UT on the containment and management of COVID-19 in 35 districts under their jurisdiction.

The district collectors and other functionaries were advised to prepare and update district specific plans to continue their efforts to manage the pandemic.

The states were also advised to effectively monitor home isolation cases and early hospitalisation in case of disease progression, seamless hospitalisation and early admission for patients requiring medical support, especially in cases of comorbid and elderly population, besides following effective infection control measures in hospitals to safeguard healthcare workers from contracting the infection.

The Union Health Ministry has been proactively monitoring the trajectory of the COVID pandemic and has been undertaking impactful interactions with the state and UT authorities to guide the administration of districts exhibiting a surge in COVID cases and having high active caseload and fatality rate to improve their management of the crisis, the ministry said.

In addition to state health secretaries, district collectors, municipal commissioners and other functionaries of the affected districts also participated in the digital meeting.

The State Health Secretaries presented a detailed analysis on the current status of COVID-19 in these districts.

They covered the aspects of containment measures, contact tracing, surveillance activities, facility-wise case fatality rates, trends in terms of weekly new cases and deaths, etc, the ministry said.

They also discussed the detailed roadmaps and action plan for the next one month, it said.

Details in terms of split of RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests conducted in the district, re-testing percentage of symptomatic negatives from antigen tests, testing lab utilization, hospitalization status and bed occupancies of oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds and ventilator etc., were also shared with the Centre.

India’s COVID-19 tally of cases mounted to 41,13,811 with a record 90,632 people being infected in a day, while the death toll climbed to 70,626 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 1,065 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed.

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