Centre advises constant vigil over surge in COVID-19 cases

New Delhi: States/UTs asked to increase number of RT-PCR tests and send positive samples for genome sequencing to INSACOG labs

BY | Monday, 18 December, 2023

The Government has advised States and Union Territories to maintain constant vigil over COVID-19 cases in view of the recent surge in the cases and the detection of the first case of the new JN.1 variant in India. The Health Ministry had informed on 16th December that a case of JN.1 variant was detected in Kerala on 8th December. On 17th December, India logged 335 fresh Covid-19 infections and the number of active cases rose to 1,701.

In the letter sent to all States/UTs, Union Health Secretary Sushansh Pant has stated, “due to consistent and collaborative actions between Centre and State Governments, we have been able to sustain the trajectory at sustainable low rates”. However, as the COVID-19 virus continues to circulate and its epidemiology behaviour gets settled with Indian weather conditions and circulation of other usual pathogens, it is important to keep the momentum going to effectively deal with the challenges in public health.

According to the Health Ministry, Pant had underlined the critical COVID control and management strategies as below:

Considering the upcoming festive season, States were advised

– to put in place requisite public health measures and other arrangements to minimize risk of increase in transmission of the disease by adherence to maintenance of respiratory hygiene.

– to ensure effective compliance of the detailed operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy for COVID-19 as has been shared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

– to monitor and report District-wise Influenza-like Illness (ILI) & Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases in all health facilities on a regular basis including in the Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) portal, for detecting the early rising trend of cases.

– to ensure adequate testing in all the districts as per Covid-19 testing guidelines and maintain the recommended share of RT-PCR and Antigen tests.

– to increase number of RT-PCR tests and send positive samples for genome sequencing to Indian SARS COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratories so as to enable timely detection of new variants, if any, in the country.

– to ensure active participation of all public and private health facilities in the drill being conducted by the Union Health Ministry, to take stock of their preparedness and response capacities.

– to promote community awareness to seek their continued support in managing COVID-19, including adherence to respiratory hygiene.

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