Centre Keeps Close Watch On 10 States With High Positivity Rates

These states are Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh

Centre Keeps Close Watch On 10 States With High Positivity Rates

On Thursday India reported over two lakh new Covid cases in 24 hours (File)

New Delhi:

The Home and Health ministries are monitoring Covid data - mortality, medical facilities and infrastructure shortage - from the 10 states with higher positivity rates than the national average.

These states are Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

The centre's concern comes with the country reporting over 1.5 lakh new cases per day since April 11, and over a lakh per day since April 7, to take active cases to an all-time high of nearly 15 lakh.

This morning more than two lakh new Covid cases - another all-time record - were reported.

A senior official said the spike in cases is a "dynamic situation" and that the centre was simply following up on earlier instructions and advisories to the concerned state governments.

The official also said several of the ten states identified by the centre were reporting over 50,000 active cases each; some, like Maharashtra (over six lakh active cases), Chhattisgarh (1.19 lakh), UP (1.12 lakh) and Karnataka (over 85,000) were of particular worry, and a priority for the centre.

States have been reminded to implement, as effectively as possible, the five-step strategy - 'Test, Track, Treat, Follow (COVID-appropriate behaviour) and Vaccinate' to check the virus' spread.

The Health Ministry has also asked states to curb non-essential movement of large groups, and warned against social gatherings that could turn into super-spreader events.

Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of healthcare facilities in Madhya Pradesh.

Sources said similar meetings have been lined up for the other nine states.

In the case of Madhya Pradesh Mr Bhalla urged state authorities to try and use hospitals run by central agencies and departments like Railways and Coal India to boost existing infrastructure.

An officer with knowledge of the meeting said using the services of final-year MBBS and nursing students, in addition to interns and junior doctors, was discussed.

The availability of face masks and PPE kits, as well as ventilators to help Covid patients and supply of oxygen cylinders and concentrators were also discussed.

Authorities were also told to scale up testing and to ensure that at least 70 per cent of all tests are RT-PCR. Those testing negative with the RAT (rapid antigen tests) kit need to take a RT-PCR test.

The state was also reminded of the need to trace a minimum of 25-30 contacts of each infected person and isolate them within 72 hours, as well as provide more reliable ambulance services.

Regarding the vaccination drive Madhya Pradesh was told to target 100 per cent inoculation of all eligible people - those over 45, and frontline and healthcare workers.

Madhya Pradesh has reported a more than 13 per cent week-on-week increase in new cases; for the last two weeks that number has jumped to almost 79 per cent. That spike earned the state another reminder - to ensure people wear masks and maintain social distancing in public spaces.

On Wednesday an "acute shortage" of oxygen cylinders was red-flagged. On Thursday CCTV footage showed a man in distress - he later died - after officials allegedly cut off his oxygen supply.