Observing an upsurge in Coronavirus infection in the past two weeks, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday wrote to all the states and Union Territories to ensure that they do not lower their guard and continue working to bring the COVID-19 pandemic situation "under control".
Expressing his concern over the continuous surge in Covid-19 infections, the health secretary in his letter wrote, "Given the significance of adequate testing in early identification of cases and providing an accurate picture of the level of infection spread, it is required that States/UTs must ensure a high level of testing in all such areas that are reporting new cases/cluster of cases."
"State/UTs must also monitor average daily testing per million as well as the share of RT-PCR in total tests conducted...Stats/UTs must also enhance monitoring of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and SARI cases in all health facilities on a regular basis for detecting early warning signals of the spread of infection," the letter read.
In the letter, he also emphasised the State/UTs to conduct Genome sequencing of prescribed samples of international passengers and said, "Collection of samples from Sentinal Sites (identified health facilities) and the local cluster of new Covid-19 cases is equally important."
He further advised them to continue implementation and monitoring of necessary measures for prompt and effective management of Covid-19 snd to ensure compliance with the advisories issued by the Health Ministry, while following a five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccine and Covid Appropriate Behavior diligently.
In the letter, he also ensured that the Union Health Ministry will continue to provide requisite support to the states/UTs in the ongoing and collective effort.
However, it was noted by the ministry that the country reported 7,240 new covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, of which, 81 per cent of cases have been reported from Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and Karnataka (in the descending order of the number of cases reported).
Notably, the freshly recorded cases were nearly 40 per cent higher than a day ago, as infections soared sharply in states like Maharashtra and Kerala. This is the highest jump in the number of daily cases since March 2.
Meanwhile, a top expert--Director of Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare, Dr Rommel Tickoo -- has warned that India is unlikely to experience the fourth wave unless a new COVID-19 variant is reported.
(With Inputs from ANI)