Another lockdown? Center advises states to refocus efforts on containing COVID-19 cases
Increase in covid-19 cases may lead to re-imposition restrictionsImage: The Bridge Chronilce

Another lockdown? Center advises states to refocus efforts on containing COVID-19 cases

In view of rising COVID-19 cases, State Governments expected to increase RT-PCR tests

With an increase in the COVID-19 cases across the country, the Union Health Ministry on Sunday has released an advisory. The government has advised states to increase RT-PCR testing while increasing efforts on imposing restrictions.

The states and UTs have been advised to work on five major areas:

* 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

The country saw an increase in the cases in the last few weeks. A month after the restrictions were eased, active cases stood at 1,45,634 on Sunday, consisting of 1.32 per cent of the total positive cases.

Kerala and Maharashtra account for more than 74 per cent of the active cases. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also informed that apart from these states, COVID-19 is also on the rise in four more states and UT. "Of late it is seen that there has been a spike in the daily cases in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also. Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir too are witnessing a surge in daily new cases," it said.

In the last four weeks, in Kerala, the average weekly cases recorded have been between 42,000 to 34,800. Similarly, in the last four weeks, the positivity rate has also ranged between 13.9 per cent to 8.9 per cent. Alappuzha district in Kerala was also reported as special concern as the weekly positivity rate has increased to 10.7 per cent and weekly cases have risen 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 ministry informed.

Pune district in Maharashtra has decided to reimpose restrictions owing to the increase in number of cases.
"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, 47, 23, 55 and 48 per cent, respectively," it added.

Punjab has also been reporting critical rise in numbers and a rapid spread of the virus. In the last four weeks, the weekly positivity rate in the state 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.

Though there is a vaccine, the rising number of cases is proof that it is still important to take precautionary measures against the virus. Wearing of mask and maintaining social distancing is of utmost importance.

The weather change in many parts of the country is a reason for concern as cases of cold and cough are increasing. Additionally, with the opening of restaurants, schools and colleges - there are higher chances of infection.

(With inputs from IANS)

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