New Delhi, June 28 (Ajit Weekly News) The Centre on Tuesday reviewed the status of Covid situation with 14 such states that are reporting high number of cases on a week-to-week basis, along with increased case positivity, combined with low numbers of COVID tests and below average Covid vaccination.
In the review meeting held over video-conferencing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised states reporting surge in cases to focus on sentinel surveillance, caution, and continuous alertness for early detection and reporting of cases.
NITI Aayog’s Member, Health, Dr V.K. Paul, who was also present at the review meeting, advised states reporting spike in the infection 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 Union Health Ministry on June 9,” he said, adding that the routine surveillance constitutes the steel frame of Covid response and management strategy and needs continuous and unstinted attention.
The four-fold strategy highlights surveillance of incoming inter-national travellers, community-based surveillance, sentinel site surveillance (health facility-based surveillance and lab-based surveillance), and whole genome sequencing, he said.
States were advised to scan for and report all SARI and ILI 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.
They were also strongly advised to strictly monitor epidemiological profile of admitted Covid patients and report the clinical manifestation to the Health Ministry, rather than a random or anecdotal reporting which will help to identify at an early stage any out-of-the-ordinary or different clinical presentation of the patients.
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+ elderly population, and second dose among 12-17 population group.
Dr Paul and the Union Health Secretary both highlighted the low level of Covid testing across the states, and drop in RT-PCR share. Instead of a thin and wide testing spectrum, states were advised to focus on strategic testing of patients coming to fever clinics, SARI and ILI patients,along with new clusters and geographies in all districts reporting higher positivity.
In addition, states were reminded to undertake of Whole Genome Sequencing through the mapped labs of INSACOG network as per the Revised Surveillance Strategy of Union Health Ministry, which has already been shared with the states.
ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava, AIIMS, New Delhi, Director Dr. Randip Guleria, Health Minister’s Additional Secretary Dr Manohar Agnani, and other top officials were present in the meeting.
–Ajit Weekly News