The Centre has called upon states reporting a surge in Covid cases in the past few weeks to step up vigil, focus on sentinel surveillance for early detection and reporting of cases, and strictly monitor the clinical profile of hospitalised cases. States have also been asked to ramp up testing and increase the share of RTPCR tests. Noting that the uptake in second and precaution doses in many states reporting the present surge was low, they were advised to rapidly accelerate the vaccination coverage, especially of the 60-plus population and second dose among the 12-17 population group.
Union health secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, reviewed the Covid situation in 14 states that are reporting a high number of cases on a week-to-week basis along with increased case positivity combined with low numbers of tests and below-average vaccination. States were advised to focus on the implementation of Covid-appropriate behavior to control the spread of infection, especially in view of the forthcoming festivals in many states with mass gatherings and religious yatras.
Dr Vinod Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog, advised states that have been reporting a spike in Covid cases to be watchful of the emerging pandemic situation. “The major action point is to focus on strengthening proactive surveillance as per the revised surveillance strategy issued by the union health ministry on June 9, 2022”, he said.
This included surveillance of incoming inter-national travelers, community-based surveillance, sentinel site surveillance (health facility-based surveillance and lab-based surveillance) and whole-genome sequencing. States were advised to scan for and report all SARI (severe acute respiratory infections) and ILI (influenza-like illness) cases from all district hospitals, major private hospitals and medical colleges across the districts, and keep a close watch on those geographies where these clusters are emerging.
States were also strongly advised to strictly monitor the epidemiological profile of admitted Covid patients and report the clinical manifestation to the health ministry and not carry out random reporting.
They also highlighted the low level of Covid testing across the states, and the drop in RTPCR share.