Centre asks TS to step up Covid control measures


HYDERABAD: The Union health secretary has written to the Telangana state government, asking it to take a slew of measures to prevent the spread of Covid including conducting adequate testing, keeping an eye on districts reporting higher cases, carrying out genome sequencing, increasing pace of vaccination etc, especially in light of the upcoming festivals.

This comes in the wake of high count of Covid cases in the state for the past one month and low testing in 12 districts. The state has reported over 1,000 cases on the last two days.

The letter directed the state to increase the pace of vaccination which was also sent to the secretaries of six other states — Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

The letter written by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan stated that Telangana had been reporting a high number of average daily new cases — 678 per day — with a high of 1,061 new cases reported on Friday. The state reported 5.7 per cent of India’s weekly new cases in the week ending on August 5, and also recorded a 1.28-time increase in average daily new cases, from 712 in the week ending on July 29 to 908 in the week ending on August 5.

The letter further stated that analysis of the districts showed that 12 districts had reported a decline in the number of tests conducted in the week ending on August 4 as compared to the previous week, and four districts reported an increase in cases for the same period.

These 12 districts are Hyderabad, Mulugu, Khammam, Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Bhadradri Kothagudem, Narayanpet, Suryapet, Jagityal, Wanaparthy, Medchal Malkajgiri, Rangareddy and Jogulamba Gadwal.

The upcoming months are likely to witness mass gatherings for various festivities, with many people travelling, which may facilitate transmission of infectious diseases, including Covid-19, added the letter. Keeping it in view, the state has been asked to ensure adequate testing in all districts, closely monitor districts reporting higher cases, positivity rates and clusters, monitor and report district wise influenza-like illness and suspected/confirmed Covid cases in all health facilities on a regular basis and undertake genome sequencing of samples of international passengers and samples from sentinel sites (identified health facilities) and local Covid clusters.

Telangana has also been instructed to pay renewed attention to ensuring Covid appropriate behaviour in crowded places, increase pace of vaccination for all eligible population, accelerate pace of administration of precaution doses, and follow the five-fold strategy of test-track- treat, vaccinate and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour.

The health secretary pointed out that the state had not filled the Covid-19 hotspot form on the Covid-19 India portal for the past six months and asked the state to address it swiftly.

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