The Union Health Ministry has asked states to impose strict restrictions in all districts that are currently recording a positivity rate of more than 10 percent. The Centre said states must ensure that effective measures are taken to prevent crowding and intermingling of people in these districts.
Positivity rate is the percentage of samples that test positive for disease out of the total samples tested. A high positivity rate indicates the disease has spread to a greater degree among the sampled population.
Reviewing the Covid-19 situation in 10 states that are either showing a rise in cases or have a high positivity rate, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said all districts that have reported a positivity rate of more than 10 percent in recent weeks need to consider imposing strict restrictions.
This should be done to prevent/curtail the movement of people, formation of crowds, and intermingling of people to prevent the spread of the viral infection, he said. “Any laxity at this stage will result in deterioration of the situation in these districts.”
The 10 states that are showing a rising trend in Covid-19 cases are Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, and Manipur.
It said priority should be given to administering the second dose of Covid-19 vaccines to the vulnerable population.
MONITOR COVID CASES IN HOME ISOLATION
The ministry noted that more than 80 percent of active Covid-19 cases in the 10 states are reported to be in-home isolation.
“There is a need to effectively and strictly monitor these cases so that they are not intermingling and circulating in their neighborhoods, community, village, mohalla, ward, etc., and spreading the infection,” Bhushan said.
He added that Covid-19 patients in home isolation should be “effectively monitored” in such a manner to ensure that those who require hospitalization are seamlessly transferred for timely clinical treatment.
ASK PVT HOSPITALS TO SET UP OXYGEN PLANTS
The ministry said as a precautionary measure, states should also focus on those districts where the positivity rate is less than 10 percent.
It said states should advise private hospitals to set up medical oxygen plants in their premises to meet their requirements.
“The Union government has been supporting states by providing oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, and PSA plants. In addition to this, states are using their own resources to put up PSA plants in government hospitals. States are advised to direct private hospitals to put up hospital-based PSA plants,” the ministry said.
It added that states that have already issued such directions, should review the status and facilitate private hospitals further.
DG ICMR Dr. Balram Bhargava warned against any complacency with around 40,000 cases being reported daily since the preceding weeks. He pointed out that 46 districts are showing more than 10 percent positivity while another 53 districts are showing a positivity between 5-10 percent.
He urged states to ramp up their testing and vaccination.
States were also advised to conduct their own state-level serosurveys for district-wise disease prevalence data, as the national level seroprevalence survey was heterogeneous in nature. These surveys should, however, be conducted in collaboration with the ICMR to ensure uniform protocols.