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Cabinet Secy Rajiv Gauba Reviews Surge In COVID-19 Cases

New Delhi: Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Saturday chaired a high-level review meeting with Chief Secretaries of various states and Union Territories and advised them not to lower their guard, enforce Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and deal firmly with the violations.

The meeting to review and discuss the Covid management and response strategy, held through video conference, was attended by the Chief Secretaries and senior health professionals of the States and UTs along with the Union Health Secretary, DG of ICMR, NITI Aayog Empowered Group members, and representatives from Home Ministry.

Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir have been reporting a high active caseload or an increasing trend in new cases in the last week.

Six states – Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat – have shown a surge in new cases in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 8,333. It is followed by Kerala with 3,671 while Punjab reported 622 new cases in the last 24 hours. In the last two weeks, Maharashtra has shown the highest rise in active cases from 34,449 on February 14 to 68,810 currently.

A detailed presentation was made on the current status of Covid-19 in these States with a focus on districts reporting increasing number of new cases, increasing trend in positivity and having a concerning testing trends.

This was followed by a comprehensive review with all the States and UTs. The Chief Secretaries briefed about the current situation in the States and their preparedness to tackle the recent spike of Covid cases.

They informed about the enforcement of Covid Appropriate Behaviour by levying heavy fines and challans, reviewing the surveillance and containment activities closely with the District Collectors, and other steps being taken in line with the guidelines provided by ministry of Health and Ministry of Home Affairs.

Cabinet Secretary reiterated that States need to maintain a continued rigorous vigil in terms of containing the spread and not squander away the gains of the collective hard work of the last year.

They were advised not to lower their guard, enforce Covid appropriate behaviour and deal firmly with violations. It was strongly underlined that they need to follow effective surveillance strategies in respect of potential super spreading events.

Need for effective testing, comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation of positive cases and quick quarantine of close contacts were also strongly emphasized.

The states were advised to take the steps, including to improve the overall testing in districts reporting reduction in testing, increase RT- PCR tests in states and districts having high antigen testing, refocus on surveillance and stringent containment in selected districts reporting reduced tests or high positivity and increased cases.

They have also been asked to monitor mutant strain and clustering of cases for early hotspot identification and control, focus on clinical management in districts reporting higher deaths, undertake priority vaccination in districts reporting higher cases.

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