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Ramp up Covid testing, genome sequencing, Center tells states as infection spreads. India News

NEW DELHI: With upsurge in Covid-19 cases during the last two weeks, the Center has asked states and UTs to ramp up testing, genome sequencing, and maintain a strict watch and take preemptive measures to control any emerging spread in infection.
Of the over 7,200 new cases in the last 24 hours, 81% of cases have been reported from four states – Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala and Karnataka,
In a letter to states and UTs on Thursday, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised them to ensure high level of testing in areas reporting new or a cluster of Covid-19 cases, while emphasizing the need to follow the five-fold strategy of combating the infection.
In the week ending June 8, an average of 4,207 new daily cases were reported as compared to 2,663 average daily cases in the week ending June 1, he highlighted in the letter.
There has also been an increase in the weekly positivity rate from 0.63% (week ending June 1) to 1.12% (week ending June 8).
Bhushan said specific strategic areas of intervention for states/UTs like testing and surveillance, clinical management, vaccination, Covid-appropriate behavior and community engagement with an increased focus on evidence-based decision-making was underlined.
The health secretary also advised the states and Union Territories (UTs) to monitor average daily testing per million as well as share of RT-PCR in the total tests done.
“This will enable states/UTs to take timely pre-emptive action wherever required,” the letter stated.
The Center has also asked states to monitor 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.
“States/UTs must not lower their guard, and continue working towards building on the progress made thus far to bring the pandemic situation under control,” Bhushan added.

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