Centre Asks Kerala to Carry Out Targeted Covid Testing in Containment Zones, Genomic Surveillance

Targeted testing in containment zones and genomic surveillance are among the many measures which were urged by the Centre to Kerala amid a surge in Covid-19 instances within the southern state. In a letter to the Kerala chief secretary on Friday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan stated the state has witnessed a sustained and important transmission of Covid-19 since July.

It reported a median of 13,500 instances per day in July and virtually 19,500 day by day instances in August. Kerala stays one of many prime contributors when it comes to day by day instances and is accounting for greater than half of the lively Covid instances within the nation at current, Bhushan stated within the letter. “Despite efforts by the state government on increasing testing, the test confirmation percentage still remains very high (more than 15 per cent), signalling high and widespread transmission. All 14 districts in Kerala have been identified as districts of concern due to high test positivity rates and high case per million reported in the past four weeks,” he added.

Further, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Ernakulam have reported greater than 4,000 instances per million (10 lakh) inhabitants within the week ending August 25, the Union well being secretary identified. Considering the latest sharp improve within the variety of instances, deaths and the take a look at positivity price after the Onam festivities and the chance of this development persevering with for just a few extra days, he urged sure measures.

Bhushan stated the Covid containment zones within the state must be outlined with a particular concentrate on the high-transmission clusters. “Such zones need to be re-defined if the proportion of cases being reported outside of containment zones is showing an increase. Buffer zone around the containment zone needs to be identified clearly and passive surveillance needs to be enhanced to detect any spillover of cases from the containment zone,” he stated.

He stated the contact-tracing efforts ought to additional be scaled up to make sure that a minimum of 20-25 contacts per constructive case are recognized and all contacts thus recognized are put below quarantine. “The district administration needs to ensure strict compliance to MoHFW’s home isolation guidelines and ensure that there is intensive follow up of all such cases under home isolation. Enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour needs to be further intensified,” the Union well being secretary stated.

He pressured on avoidance of mass gatherings and stated it must be enforced by the district administration. On testing, he stated the present positivity price is excessive, mandating an additional improve within the variety of exams carried out to detect the an infection, in accordance with the rules issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

“Targeted testing needs to be enhanced in containment zones and especially to cover high-risk contacts,” Bhushan stated. He additionally stated Kerala ought to guarantee enhanced genomic surveillance in areas of excessive and sustained transmission.

“Samples of all cases of vaccine breakthrough, infections and re-infections need to be sent for genome sequencing positively. Clinico-epidemiological assessment of all such cases needs to be done promptly. Results of such assessments need to be shared with the National Centre for Disease Control,” he stated. The Union well being secretary stated whereas increasing the protection of Covid-19 vaccination is required, it’s reiterated {that a} state-specific technique to finish the second-dose vaccination of the beneficiaries could also be adopted.

He stated different measures akin to a graded response motion plan on the district degree could also be ready and deployed in accordance with the MoHFW’s containment implementation framework for neighborhood containment or giant containment areas and its advisory on graded restrictions or rest measures for Covid-19. “I would like to reiterate that any laxity in ensuring strict adherence to the five-fold strategy of ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and Ensuring Covid Appropriate Behaviour’ may result in further surge in Covid-19 transmission in Kerala and its neighbouring states,” the Union well being secretary cautioned within the letter.

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