The central government has sent multi-disciplinary high-level teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir after witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases. These teams will work closely with the state and UT administrations and ascertain reasons for the surge. They will also coordinate with the respective health authorities on the requisite control measures to break the chain of transmission. States and UT have been advised to critically review the emerging situation regularly with the concerned district officials to ensure that gains made so far in managing the virus are not lost.
In the letter, the union health secretary has exhorted Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and the UT of Jammu and Kashmir to focus on undertaking aggressive measures to break the chain of transmission and to ensure that RT-PCR testing is amplified to flush out hitherto undetected cases from the population. They have been advised to increase testing in a focussed manner in the affected districts with the appropriate split of RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests. Those found positive must be promptly isolated or hospitalised. All their close contacts should be traced and tested without delay.
The central government has reminded the states and UTs that any laxity in implementing stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus, especially in view of the new strains of virus observed in certain countries, could compound the situation. The union health secretary has separately requested the chief secretaries of these 10 states and UTs to provide time to these high-level central government teams to debrief the respective chief secretaries at the conclusion of their state visits. These measures are in line with Government of India’s graded and proactive approach to contain COVID-19 across the country.