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Union Govt Advises States to Enforce Strict Restrictions to Prevent Crowds in Districts with Over 10% Covid Positivity

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Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting today to review the Covid-19 situation in 10 states of Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Manipur.

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The public health measures are taken for surveillance, containment and management of Covid-19 by the health authorities in these states were also reviewed. These states are either reporting a rise in new daily Covidcases or a rise in positivity.

Dr Balram Bhargava, DG ICMR and Secretary (DHR) were also present. Principal Secretary (Health), Mission Director (NHM), State Surveillance Officer of all these states participated in the review meeting.

ICMR DG warned against any complacency with around 40,000 cases being reported daily since the preceding weeks. Highlighting the fact that 46 districts are showing more than 10% positivity while another 53 districts are showing a positivity between 5%-10%, he urged the States to ramp up their testing.

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States have been advised to conduct their own state-level serosurveys for district-wise disease prevalence data, as the national level seroprevalence survey, was heterogeneous in nature, in collaboration with ICMR to ensure the same sturdy protocols of the survey.

He advised the States to ramp up vaccination in the 60-plus and 45-60 age categories as evidence shows near 80% of the mortality is from these vulnerable age groups. Regarding enforcement measures, he advised the state authorities for avoiding all non-essential travel and to discourage all large gatherings of crowds.

Through a detailed presentation, a granular analysis of the highly affected districts (Districts of Concern) in these states, Covid-19 vaccination coverage, the status of ventilators, PSA plants, oxygen cylinders and concentrators along with some key statistics were presented.

States were asked to use the INSACOG laboratory network for genomic surveillance to screen International Travelers (for the entry of new variants or mutants in India from other countries), monitor ongoing surveillance through Sentinel Sites (RT-PCR labs or secondary and tertiary care hospitals managing Covid cases) and surge surveillance.

Also, they were advised to undertake intensive containment and active surveillance in clusters reporting higher cases, define containment zones, based on mapping of cases and contacts traced. Undertake regular reviews and follow-up for implementation of ECRP-II with a focus on augmentation of existing health infrastructure particularly in rural areas and paediatric cases, as well as report death count as per ICMR guidelines.

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