Govt asks states to return to fundamentals of ‘test, track and treat’ amid COVID hike

at 6:31 pm
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New Delhi (NVI): The Central Government today asked the States and UTs which have been reporting surge in daily new COVID-19 cases and high active caseload, to return to the fundamentals of ‘Test, Track and Treat’.

According to an official statement, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Member (Health), NITI Aayog Vinod K. Paul today interacted with Health Secretaries and MDs (NHM) of Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and UTs of Delhi and Chandigarh.

These States and Union Territories have in the recent past seen increased positivity and increased number of daily positive cases.

The health officials reviewed the ongoing public health measures of surveillance, containment and management of cases in wake of the steep rise in daily new cases of COVID-19 and the high number of active caseload being reported from these eight States and UTs, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

During the meeting, in a detailed presentation, it was pointed out that 9 districts in Delhi, 15 in Haryana, 10 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Odisha, 9 in Himachal Pradesh, 7 in Uttarakhand, 2 in Goa, 1 in Chandigarh 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-19 positive cases.

These together can pose high risk of transmission to the neighboring States and UTs, the statement said, adding that, “A granular analysis of the COVID-19 response in the districts was shared with the States and UTs for further action.”

At the meeting, the officials of States and UTs were asked to continue with the effective strategy of ‘Test Track & Treat’ that had yielded rich dividends at the height of the pandemic.

They were also asked to increase share of RT-PCR tests in districts dependent on high levels of antigen testing, to refocus on surveillance and stringent containment of those areas in selected districts which are seeing cluster of cases and carry out an average close contact tracing of minimum of 20 persons per positive case, the ministry noted.

The states have also been advised to accelerate vaccination for priority population groups in districts reporting higher cases and make optimal use of the available vaccine doses and focus on critical districts.

Also, promote COVID-appropriate behavior through communication and enforcement, the statement said.

However, stress was laid on prompt isolation and on medical supervision of those active cases presently in home isolation for early identification of progressive deterioration of the disease, it added.