Centre asks four states to take prompt steps to curb recent spike in COVID-19 cases

NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked four states recording a surge in COVID-19 cases — Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal — to maintain a “strict vigil” and take steps to curb the recent spike.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to these states to draw their attention “to the low and declining testing rates in the states, stating that any laxity at this crucial junction may squander the results of our collective actions in containing the transmission”, according to a health ministry statement.

The states have been advised to maintain a “strict vigil” and to take steps to keep a check on the rising cases, especially in view of the new strain of the virus being observed in a few states in India.

They have been advised to analyse the surge at the district and sub-district levels to understand the reasons for this rise and plan adequate measures proactively to curb the same.

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Aggressive implementation of the “test-track-treat” strategy adopted by the country has been strongly advised now more than ever by the health secretary.

The health authorities in the states have also been advised to proactively promote wearing of masks and other COVID-19-appropriate behaviours, while the vaccination drive is about to begin.

“It is important to ensure that there is no complacency in the collective efforts in containment and management of COVID-19,” the health secretary said.

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The states have been assured of all necessary support of the health ministry required to manage the pandemic.

“The four states comprise 59 per cent of the total active cases in the country,” the ministry said.

The total COVID-19 cases in Kerala are 7,90,882 which form 7.61 per cent of the total cases.

The active cases stand at 65,252, accounting for 28.61 per cent of the total national figure.

Total number of recovered cases is 7,22,421, accounting for a recovery rate of 91.34, while the total deaths in the state are 3,209 with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.41 per cent, the statement said.

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“The daily average cases in Kerala in the last 7 days are 5,023 whereas daily average deaths in the last 7 days are 23. The tests per million (TPM) of Kerala stand at 1,96,432 and positivity rate is 11.28 per cent,” the statement stated.

The health secretary has expressed concern over the dip in the overall tests in the past two weeks in the state combined with an increase in the positivity rate.

The weekly positivity rate has been consistently above 11 per cent for the past two weeks, while the case positivity rate for the country is less than 2.5 per cent for the same period, the statement stated.

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In view of the above, a high-level central team led by Dr S K Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has been rushed by the central government to Kerala.

The team will review the public health interventions in management of COVID-19 by the state government and support the state health authorities in these measures, the ministry said.

Total cases in Maharashtra stand at 19,54,553, accounting for 18.80 per cent of the national figure.

A total of 18,52,759 patients have recovered in the state, resulting in a recovery rate of 94.79 per cent.

The active cases in the state are 51,969 (amounting for 22.79 per cent of national figure).

The state has reported a total of 49,825 fatalities, with a CFR of 2.55 per cent.

The daily average cases in Maharashtra in the last 7 days are 3,707 and daily average deaths in the last 7 days are 51, the statement said.

The TPM is 1,02,870 while the state positivity rate is pegged at 15.43 per cent, it said.

Chhattisgarh has registered 2,85,586 cases (with percentage share in total being 2.75 per cent) and 2,73,030 total number of recoveries with a recovery rate of 95.60 per cent.

The active cases as on date are 9,109 (3.99 per cent share in the national pie).

The numbers of fatalities in the state is 3,447 and the case fatality rate is 1.21 per cent.

Daily average cases in Chhattisgarh in the last 7 days are 1,006 whereas daily average deaths in the last 7 days are 13, the statement said.

TPM is 1,16,744 with a positivity rate of 8.31 per cent.

West Bengal is reporting 5,57,252 cases (5.36 per cent of the total cases in the country).

A total 5,38,521 persons have recovered taking the recovery rate to 96.64 per cent.

It has 8,868 active cases, accounting for 3.89 per cent of the national figure.

There have been 9,863 total deaths in the state with a case fatality rate of 1.77 per cent.

The daily average cases in West Bengal in the last 7 days are 908 and daily average deaths are 25.

The number of TPM is 71,762 and the positivity rate is 7.80 per cent, the ministry said.