Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to all States and Union Territories over the Omicron variant of COVID19, asking them to enforce intensive containment and active surveillance measures and also increase coverage of vaccination. The Centre said, it is essential that the disease surveillance network in the country is geared up for rigorous follow up of all international travelers from all countries especially countries designated as “At-Risk”.

Centre asked States and Union Territories to review this at their level and strictly ensure the protocol provided by Union Health Ministry including testing on disembarkation of international travelers coming from “At Risk” Countries and sending all positive samples for genome sequencing to INSACOG Labs in a prompt manner.

The Centre also asked States and Union Territories to operationalise ample testing infrastructure to tackle any surge due to this mutated virus. lt observed that the overall testing, as well as the proportion of RT-PCR tests, have declined in some States. States have been asked to strengthen the testing infrastructure and strictly implement the testing guidelines. They have been asked to keep a close check on the emerging trend of cases and the positivity in an area and quickly delineate hotspots for effective containment. The letter stated that States should aim at achieving a positivity rate below 5 percent while focusing on increasing the number of tests and share of RT-PCR tests to aid in early identification.


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