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इंडियन आवाज़     09 Dec 2021 03:08:17      انڈین آواز

India’s Health ministry asks several states to ramp up COVID testing

Decrease in testing would undermine actual infection spread within community, says health secretary Rajesh Bhushan

file photo

BISHESHWAR MISHRA / NEW DELHI

The Union health ministry has written to thirteen states where the weekly rate of Covid testing has dropped even though the total daily cases in the country dropped to around 10,000.

Ministry has written to Nagaland, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Ladakh over decline in weekly COVID19 testing numbers.

In a letter written to these State governments, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said that it is important that the State maintains high testing given the recent increase in travelling, due to various events such as marriages and festive celebrations. Mr Bhushan cautioned that a decrease in testing would undermine the actual infection spread within the community.

He also said, with the onset of winter and increased pollution in some states, prevalence of influenza-like illness and respiratory distress symptoms should be closely monitored. He asked the States that tests should conducted regularly for timely monitoring and clustering of cases for early hotspot identification. Mr Bhushan expressed confidence said that under their leadership we will be able to maintain the momentum and build on the progress made so far to bring the pandemic situation under control. He assured any requisite support to the State in the ongoing and collective efforts against Covid-19.

“In the absence of sustained levels of sufficient testing, it is very difficult to determine the true level of infection spread in a geography,” Rajesh Bhushan, health secretary said.

He said that with several countries seeing surges in Covid cases in recent times and a few developed countries facing even fourth and fifth wave despite high levels of Covid vaccination, there was a need for continued vigil given the unpredictable and contagious nature of the disease.

The health ministry has also drawn attention of these states on “worrying trends” in tests, tests per million, positivity rate and higher dependence on rapid antigen tests in various districts.

“It is important that the State maintains high testing given the recent increase in travelling, due to various events such as marriages, festive celebrations, vacations having either recently concluded or underway,” Bhushan said.

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