Centre advises states to increase testing amid upsurge in COVID-19

Image Source : PTI

Mumbai: A health worker takes swab sample of a resident for COVID-19 testing in a housing society, amid a surge in coronavirus cases, at Nehru Nagar in Mumbai, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

The Centre has advised States to work on improving overall testing by focusing on an increasing proportion of RT-PCR tests, all negative Rapid Test results to be mandatorily followed by RT-PCR test and refocusing on strict and comprehensive surveillance among others amid the rising concerns over the upsurge in COVID-19 cases across the country. The country has been witnessing a rise in the active coronavirus caseload over the past few days. More than 74 per cent of cases in the country are in Kerala and Maharashtra. 

Of late it is seen that there has been a spike in the daily cases in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also. Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir too are witnessing a surge in daily new cases, the government said.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare statement, the Centre has advised all these States to work on five major areas. These are:

  • Improve the overall testing numbers by focusing on increasing the proportion of RT-PCR tests
  • All negative Rapid Antigen Test results to be mandatorily followed by RT-PCR test and no such negative persons are to be missed
  • Refocus on strict and comprehensive surveillance as well as stringent containment in selected districts
  • Regular monitoring of the mutant strains through testing followed by Genome Sequencing, as well as monitoring of the emerging cluster of cases
  • Focusing on clinical management in districts reporting higher deaths

In the last four weeks in Kerala, the average weekly cases have fluctuated between a high of 42,000 to a low of 34,800. Similarly, the weekly positivity in Kerala has ranged from 13.9 per cent to 8.9 per cent. 

The district of Alappuzha is a cause of special concern where the weekly positivity rate has increased to 10.7 per cent and weekly cases have increased to 2,833.

In Maharashtra, in the last four weeks, the weekly cases have shown a rising trend and have increased from 18,200 to 21,300; while the weekly positivity has also increased from 4.7 per cent to 8 per cent. 

The areas of concern are the Mumbai Suburban areas where the weekly cases have risen by 19 per cent. In Nagpur, Amravati, Nashik, Akola and Yavatmal the weekly cases have increased by 33 per cent, 47 per cent, 23 per cent, 55 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively.

Punjab is rapidly assuming a critical dimension in respect of the spread of COVID-19 infection. In the state, in the last four weeks, the weekly positivity rate has increased from 1.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent, while the weekly cases in the last four weeks have seen a rise from 1,300 to 1,682. In one district of SBS Nagar alone, the weekly positivity rate has become 4.9 per cent from 3.5 per cent and the weekly cases have more than doubled from 165 to 364.

Five states/UTs have a weekly positivity rate more than the national average. 

The National average is 1.79 per cent. Maharashtra has the highest weekly positivity rate with 8.10 per cent.

On the front of coronavirus vaccination, country cumulative vaccination Coverage has crossed 1.10 crore. 

At present, total active cases pegged at 1,45,634 today with 1.32 per cent of the country’s total positive cases. 

(With ANI inputs)

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