Districts with over 10% COVID positivity need to consider strict curbs: Centre
NEW DELHI: With 46 districts in India still reporting a Covid-19 test positivity rate of over 10%, the Centre on Saturday, asked them to impose strict restrictions on the intermingling of people.
The directions came in a review meeting focused on the 10 states registering a surge in cases or positivity rate or both.
As 80% of the active cases in these states -- Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Manipur -- are in home isolation, the government also nudged them to strictly monitor and ensure patients at home are not spreading the infection in the community.
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In the meeting, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan warned against any complacency with around 40,000 Covid-19 cases being reported daily since the preceding weeks and urged the states to ramp up their testing.
There are also 53 districts across states reporting 5-10% of positivity which suggests that the pandemic may not be fully under control.
The Union government said that states should focus on districts with a positivity rate of less than 10% so as to protect these districts and the populations by focusing on saturation of vaccination.
In addition, states have been advised to conduct their own state-level serosurveys for district-wise disease prevalence data with the help of the ICMR, as the national level sero-prevalence survey was heterogeneous in nature.
A recently concluded serosurvey, based on samples collected from 70 districts in 22 states, by the ICMR had shown that nearly 68% of the population may have antibodies against SARS CoV 2-confirming the past exposure to the virus.
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ICMR director general Balram Bhargava on the other hand advised states to ramp up vaccination in the 60+ and 45-60 age categories as evidence shows that nearly 80% of the mortality is from these vulnerable age-groups.
Regarding enforcement measures, he advised the state authorities to avoid all non-essential travel and to discourage all large gatherings of crowds. The government also highlighted the need for the states to push for PSA oxygen plants in private hospitals.
"Provisions under the clinical establishment act enable states to issue such directions to the private hospitals," said the Union health ministry, adding that in the government hospitals, Centre and states have already been trying to install these oxygen generators throughout the country.
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