NEW DELHI: Amid a surge in Covid cases, the Centre on Friday wrote to the Delhi government and six other states — Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana -- asking them to speed up the vaccination drive and ensure adequate testing.
During the past month, Kerala reported 2,347 cases a day on average while Maharashtra had 2,135 cases, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in his letter to these states. Highlighting the situation in Delhi, Bhushan said 8.2% of all new cases reported in the country over the past week were from Delhi where the test positivity rate shot up from 5.9% last week to 9.86% on Friday.
“It is critical for the states to ensure adequate testing is undertaken in all the districts of the state while maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen tests. The state must also closely monitor districts reporting higher cases, positivity rates, and clusters to prevent further spread of infection and effective case management,” Bhushan said.
The official also warned that the upcoming festivals could lead to mass congregations of people in different parts of the country and potentially facilitate the transmission of infectious diseases, including Covid-19. He urged the states to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed in crowded places such as markets, inter-state bus stands, schools, colleges, and railway stations. He also emphasized the need to follow the five-fold strategy of test, track, treat, vaccinate, and adherence to Covid protocols.
In view of the low uptake in booster shots, he asked states to step up vaccination efforts and utilise the free precaution doses for the 18-plus eligible population at all government Covid vaccination centres under the ‘Covid Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav’ till September 30.