Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh among 8 states witnessing Covid surge

Team Parvasi – Inside

Haryana, Himachal Pradesh among 8 states witnessing Covid surge

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday advised states and UTs to ramp up Covid 19 testing amid a seven fold rise in daily cases over the past three weeks and gear for mock drills at hospitals on April 10 and 11. At a review meeting on Covid held by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya with his state counterparts today, eight states were flagged for the surge. Kerala, Maharashtra and Delhi have ten or more districts reporting more than 10 per cent positivity. Five districts each in Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Haryana are reporting more than 5 per cent positivity. In Punjab the covid cases are rising day by day and daily cases no crossed more than a hundred.

Overall India has been witnessing a steady increase in COVID-19 cases with average daily cases rising to 4,188 in the week ending April 7 from 571 in the week ending March 17; weekly positivity has risen to 3.02% in the week ending April 7. “However, 88,503 daily average cases are being reported globally, with the top five countries, including the US, contributing 62.6 per cent of global cases in the last one week,” the meeting was informed.

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The Union Health Minister advised States to be on the alert and keep all preparedness for COVID19 management. “The minister urged states to conduct mock drills of all hospital infrastructure on April 10 and 11 and review health preparedness with district administrations on April 8 and 9. He also urged states to identify emerging hotspots by monitoring trends of influenza like illness and severe acute respiratory illness cases, sending sufficient samples for testing of COVID-19, and ramping up whole genome sequencing of positive samples,” a government release said.

As of today 23 states/UTs have average tests per million below the national average. States have now been told to increase the rate of testing from the current 100 tests per million as of the week ending April 7.

Importantly, test, track, treat, Covid protocols and vaccination have been stressed to control the surge, with the minister saying there is no rise in hospitalizations. “The states were informed that currently the WHO is closely tracking one variant of interest (VOI), XBB.1.5 and six other variants (BQ.1, BA.2.75, CH.1.1, XBB, XBF and XBB.1.16). It was highlighted that while Omicron and its sub-lineages continue to be the predominant variant, most assigned variants have little or no significant transmissibility, disease severity or immune escape. The prevalence of XBB.1.16 increased from 21.6 pc in February to 35.8 pc in March, 2023. However, no evidence of an increase in hospitalization or mortality has been reported,” the ministers were told.

On the vaccination front, India has achieved over 90 per cent coverage of primary vaccination (two doses) but only 27 per cent precaution dose coverage which is very low. “Vaccination of all eligible population, especially of the elderly and vulnerable population group must be ramped up,” Mandaviya said.

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