NEW DELHI: There is a need for higher testing in market places, offices and areas for gathering to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday.
The minister reviewed the covid situation in the country as India crossed the mark of 12 crore cumulative covid-19 tests.
He advised states to focus on higher testing especially in districts with higher positivity; focus on high risk groups and vulnerable populations for surveillance of influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) which can give indication of infection; increase contact tracing of close contacts of positive cases; proper follow up and monitoring of those in home isolation, especially the vulnerable groups.
“There is need to be vigilant in the coming winter and the long festive season which could threaten the gains made against covid-19,” said the health minister.
He interacted with chief ministers, state health ministers and principal secretaries/ additional chief secretaries of Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura Meghalaya and Goa through video conferencing.
Although active cases have declined in Maharashtra, it continues to have a large active caseload, with a high fatality rate (2.6%) which increased to 3.5% in and around Mumbai, the health minister said. “The CFR (case fatality rate) in Uttarakhand is higher than the national average at 1.64%; active cases are on the rise in the recent days in Manipur. Higher positivity in the state is indicative of hidden transmission,” said Harsh Vardhan.
He also highlighted the importance of widespread multimedia information, education and communication (IEC) campaign so that people in home isolation can reach hospitals in time for effective clinical management.
The health minister recently held a review meeting with Andhra Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana and Kerala.
The total number of covid-19 cases on Wednesday swelled to 86,36,975 and the toll touched 1,28,573. The total burden of active cases as on Wednesday is 4,94,657 that comprise 5.73% of the total positive cases. While 27 states/UTs have less than 20,000 active cases, eight states/UTs have more than 20,000 cases and two states (Maharashtra and Kerala) have active cases more than 50,000, the union health ministry said.
The country recorded 44,281 new cases in the last 24 hours. At least 10 states and UTs have reported 78% of the new cases. Delhi has reported the highest daily new cases at 7,830. It is followed by Kerala with 6,010 cases, the government said.
Ten states/UTs also account for 79% of the covid-19 fatalities. At least 512 case fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours. Total case fatality rate stands at 1.48% and continues its downwards trajectory, the union health ministry said adding that Maharashtra saw the most casualties at 110. Delhi and West Bengal followed with 83 and 53 new deaths, respectively.