Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Saturday wrote to the chief secretaries and administrators of 10 states and Union Territories over the rising positivity rates. Bhushan asked the administration of 19 districts in Kerala, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Manipur, West Bengal and Nagaland to keep a strict vigil as the nation reports new Omicron cases.
Bhushan said that 19 districts in these states reported positivity rates between 5 and 10% in the last two weeks while eight districts in Mizoram, Kerala and Sikkim reported a positivity rate of more than 10% in the last two weeks. “These districts need to be monitored very closely,” the letter said. “In case of any district reporting a surge in cases, or rise in positivity rates, intensive action and local containment as per the containment framework must be initiated,” it said.
“The strategic containment interventions in identified areas with test positivity rate of over 10 per cent or over 60 per cent bed occupancy on either two supported or ICU beds, include night curfews, restricting intermingling of people, prohibition of congregations (social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, festival-related), curtailment of attendees in marriages and funerals or last rites, etc,” Bhushan explained further.
He urged the states governments and Union Territories to intervene if there is a sudden surge in the number of cases or in the positivity rate by ramping up testing and active case search. The letter also highlighted the need to test for influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) cases through rapid antigen tests (RAT) and retesting by RTPCR of symptomatic RAT negative tests.
Bhushan, however, stressed that adherence to strict Covid-19 protocols is a must. He said that these norms must also be rigorously enforced and aggressively monitored. He requested administrators to regularly monitor at the state level if the guidelines are being followed or not.