The Union Health Ministry on Saturday directed six high Covid-19 cases reporting states to take necessary steps to control the spread of the infection, and also reduce fatalities, officials said.
The states -- Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Mizoram -- have been told to take the required steps according to the strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate-Covid Appropriate Behaviour to keep the situation under control.
The ministry, in separate letters addressed to the six states -- has said that in the context of the new Variant of Concern -- Omicron, all states have been advised to undertake enhanced surveillance of international travellers, continued monitoring of emerging hotspots, prompt and comprehensive contact tracing of positive individuals and follow up for 14 days, sending all positive samples for genome sequencing quickly to INSACOG Labs, early identification of cases through adequate testing, review of health infrastructure preparedness and most importantly to focus on IEC and community sensitization.
In the letter to the Kerala government, the Health Ministry has said that 13 out of 14 districts in the state are reporting high quantum of weekly new cases in the southern state. Four districts -- Thiruvananthapuram (11.61 per cent), Wayanad (11.25 per cent), Kozhikode (11 per cent) and Kottayam (10.81 per cent) -- are showing high weekly positivity of more than 10 per cent. Other nine districts are reporting weekly positivity between 5-10 per cent.
In the letter to the Karnataka, the ministry has expressed concern that the state has reported a slight increase in weekly new cases to 2,272 from 1,664 cases along with an increase in weekly new deaths from 22 to 29 over the same period.
"Increase in weekly new deaths has been noted in Bengaluru urban, from 8 new deaths reported in the week ending November 25 to 14 deaths in the week ending December 2," the ministry noted.
In similar letter to Odisha, the Centre has expressed concern over declining trends of the weekly test conducted.
The state exhibited a decline of 3.1 per cent in weekly tests conducted from 4,01,164 total tests in week ending 26th Nov to 3,88,788 total tests in week ending December 3," said the ministry.
"Eight out of 11 districts are showcasing high weekly positivity of more than 10 per cent in Mizoram," said ministry in the letter to the state government.