The government today sent high-level teams to 10 states and Union Territories that have seen a surge in Covid cases, warning that slacking off on rules and measures to check infection will escalate the crisis, given the emergence of new virus strains.
The Health Secretary has also written to seven states and Union Territories on the recent spurt in virus cases and has advised specific steps.
Three-member multi-disciplinary teams have been sent to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir.
Each team is headed by Joint Secretary-level officers in the Health Ministry.
These teams are to work closely with the state administrations and inquire into reasons for the rise in cases. They will also coordinate with health authorities of the states and Union Territories for measures to break the chain of transmission, the health ministry said.
The states have been asked to carry out a regular critical review of the emerging situation with officials of the districts concerned.
In addition, the Centre has written to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, where there has been a rise in daily cases, alongside a drop in the proportion of RT-PCR tests.
The Centre has asked these states to increase RT-PCR testing and carry out both kinds of tests in a focused manner in districts worst affected.
Those showing symptoms but turning up negative in rapid antigen tests must take the RT-PCR test, the government has said. The Centre has also called for strict contact-tracing of all positive cases.
Maharashtra and Kerala alone account for 75% of the country's current active cases after a sudden rise in new infections in recent days.
Maharashtra today recorded the highest number of 6218 new cases, followed by Kerala (4,034), Tamil Nadu (449), Punjab (414) and Karnataka (383). Maharashtra reported 51 deaths in the last 24 hours, followed by Kerala with 14 and Punjab 10, Tamil Nadu, six and Karnataka, four, said the health ministry.