Over 100 districts across nine States — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Maharashtra — are witnessing a surge in Covid cases or reporting high positivity rates, according to data with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The States, at a review meeting chaired by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday, were asked to ensure strict surveillance over ‘districts of concern’ showing a positivity rate of over 10 per cent.

Positivity rate goes up

The country reported over 30 per cent rise in fresh Covid cases on the day to 20,557. Active cases were up by 2,000, shows Health Ministry data. Punjab saw the highest increase in active cases on a 24-hour basis, at 1,937. The daily positivity rate also spiked to 4.13 per cent from 3.32 per cent a day ago.

There were 40 fatalities — 11 from Kerala; six each from West Bengal and Maharashtra; four from Punjab; three from Sikkim; two from Delhi and one each from Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Odisha and Rajasthan.

States have also been advised to be attentive to clinical symptoms of Covid patients and strictly monitor home isolation cases, said the Ministry.

‘Improve testing, vaccination’

“There is poor surveillance, poor testing and below average vaccination in many States undergoing the present surge,” VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said. It was also pointed out that the average tests per million population is below the national average in at least six of these 9 States — Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh.

RT-PCR testing was also ‘very low’ in the northeastern States of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and below the national average in the Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal, the review highlighted. The States were asked to “urgently address the declining trend of RT-PCR and improve average daily tests per million”.

Representatives from Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala were also advised that there was a substantial scope of increasing vaccination levels. Besides, district-wise Severe Acute Respiratory Illness and Influenza-like Illness cases were also to be reported on a daily basis.

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