Centre Asks States To Increase Proportion Of RT-PCR Tests Amid Surge Of COVID Cases

New Delhi: As India has been witnessing a rise in the active caseload over the past few days, the Union Health Ministry on Sunday has asked all the states and union territories to increase the proportion of RT-PCR testing while putting refocus on surveillance and containment measures as well.

“India’s total active caseload is pegged at 1,45,634 today. It now consists of 1.32% of India’s total positive cases.

More than 74% of the active cases of 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 J&K too are witnessing a surge in daily new cases,” said the Ministry.

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, in the last four weeks, the weekly positivity in Kerala has ranged from 13.9% to 8.9%. In Kerala, the district of Alappuzha is a cause of special concern where the weekly Positivity Rate has increased to 10.7% 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% to 8%. The areas of concern are the Mumbai Suburban areas where the weekly cases have risen by 19%. In Nagpur, Amravati, Nashik, Akola and Yavatmal the weekly cases have increased by 33%, 47%, 23%, 55% and 48%, respectively.

Punjab is rapidly assuming critical dimension in respect of the spread of COVID19 infection. In the State, in the last four weeks, the weekly positivity rate has increased from 1.4% to 1.6%, while the weekly cases in the last four weeks have seen a rise from 1300 to 1682. In one district of SBS Nagar alone, the weekly positivity rate has become 4.9% from 3.5% and the weekly cases have more than doubled from 165 to 364.

5 States/UTs have weekly Positivity Rate more than the National Average. The National average is 1.79%. Maharashtra has highest weekly positivity rate with 8.10%.

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.

On the front of COVID Vaccination, India’s cumulative Vaccination Coverage has crossed 1.10 Cr.

As on 18th February, 2021, till 8:00 AM, a total of 1,10,85,173 vaccine doses have been administered through 2,30,888 sessions, as per the provisional report till 8 am today. These include 63,91,544 HCWs (1st dose), 9,60,642 HCWs (2nd dose) and 37,32,987 FLWs (1st dose).

The 2nd dose of COVID19 vaccination started on 13th February, 2021 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the 1st dose. Vaccination of the FLWs started on 2nd Feb 2021.

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