New Delhi: Amid a surge in COVID-19 confirmed cases, the Centre on Sunday (February 21, 2021) directed states to increase the surveillance and conduct more RT-PCR tests. India has been witnessing rising COVID-19 cases over the past few days and the total active caseload increased to 1,45,634 on Sunday. It now consists of 1.32% of India's total coronavirus positive cases.
Five states and UTs have a weekly positivity rate more than the national average. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), more than 74% of the active cases of the country are in Kerala and Maharashtra.
"Of late, it is seen that there has been a spike in the daily cases in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also. Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir too are witnessing a surge in daily new cases," said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The Centre has advised all these states to work on the following major areas:
1. Improve the overall testing numbers by focusing on increasing the proportion of RT-PCR tests.
2. All negative Rapid Antigen Test results to be mandatorily followed by RT-PCR test and no such negative persons are to be missed.
3. Refocus on strict and comprehensive surveillance as well as stringent containment in selected districts.
4. Regular monitoring of the mutant strains through testing followed by Genome Sequencing, as well as monitoring of the emerging cluster of cases.
5. Focusing on clinical management in districts reporting higher deaths.
This is to be noted that in the last four weeks in Kerala, the average weekly COVID-19 confirmed cases have fluctuated between a high of 42,000 to a low of 34,800. Similarly, in the past month, the weekly positivity in Kerala has ranged from 13.9% to 8.9%. In Kerala, the district of Alappuzha is a cause of special concern where the weekly positivity rate has increased to 10.7% and weekly cases have increased to 2,833.
In Maharashtra, in the last four weeks, the weekly coronavirus cases have shown a rising trend and have increased from 18,200 to 21,300, while the weekly positivity has also increased from 4.7% to 8%. Maharashtra, notably, has highest the weekly positivity rate with 8.10%. The areas of concern are the Mumbai Suburban areas where the weekly cases have risen by 19%. In Nagpur, Amravati, Nashik, Akola and Yavatmal, the weekly cases have increased by 33%, 47%, 23%, 55% and 48%, respectively.
Punjab is also rapidly assuming a critical dimension in respect of the spread of COVID-19 infection. In the state, in the past one month, the weekly positivity rate has increased from 1.4% to 1.6%, while the weekly cases in the last four weeks have seen a rise from 1300 to 1682. In one district of SBS Nagar alone, the weekly positivity rate has become 4.9% from 3.5% and the weekly cases have more than doubled from 165 to 364.