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Centre Asks States, UTs To Screen 2% Of Passengers From Each Incoming Flight Through RT-PCR

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked states and union territories to send all COVID-19 positive specimens of passengers for genome sequencing

Centre Asks States, UTs To Screen 2% Of Passengers From Each Incoming Flight Through RT-PCR
Since the past few days, India is consistently reporting more than 10,000 Covid cases

New Delhi: With India consistently reporting more than 10,000 Covid cases over the past few days, the Centre Wednesday (June 29) asked states and Union Territories to ensure a random RT-PCR screening of about two per cent passengers in each incoming international flight, and send all positive specimens for genomic sequencing. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan issued the advisory through a letter to states and UTs, referring to the ‘Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in context of COVID-19’ issued by the Centre on June 9.

Also Read: Centre Asks States Reporting A Surge In COVID-19 Cases To Step Up Vigil

Mr Bhushan asked them to implement the revised strategy which focuses on early detection and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases, and the containment of outbreaks of new coronavirus variants.

Mr Bhushan said the June 9 strategy was issued with the long-term vision to fully integrate COVID-19 surveillance within existing Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) mechanism.

Summarising the actions that states need to take, Mr Bhushan said they should ensure,

Surveillance of Incoming International Travelers which will include random screening of 2 per cent of passengers in each incoming flight into India by RT-PCR.

He asked them that all positive specimens should be sent for genome sequencing and such passengers should be advised isolation and clinically managers as per prevailing guidelines.

He also said all healthcare facilities should report Influenza Like Illness (ILI) cases, and mentioned that the District Surveillance Officer (DSO) will be responsible to analyse the data.

Five per cent of ILI cases shall be tested through RT-PCR, he said.

Also Read: Health Expert Advises To Follow COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour, Avoid Pilgrimages As Cases Surge

Health facilities should ensure monitoring of Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases in all district hospitals and selected tertiary hospitals and undertake their RT-PCR test for Covid, he said.

State IDSP shall share this data on a fortnightly basis and the lab testing for COVID-19 should upload their data on Indian Council for Medical Research portal, he said.

The revised strategy further stressed on community-based surveillance for early detection of unusual events in the community such as large outbreaks, unusual clinical presentation of cases, mortality, etc.

Mr Bhushan said the three-pronged genomic surveillance strategy should be implemented by states and UTs. Also, positive samples from large clusters or outbreaks in the community and unusual events should also be sent for whole genome sequencing.

In addition, revised surveillance guidelines also call for sewage and wastewater surveillance which may provide early warnings on the potential local surge of COVID-19, the letter said.

Please ensure that the guidelines are disseminated to all districts, and identified health facilities and labs across the state and their implementation shall be ensured. I am sure the state governments and UT administrations shall make these guidelines to enable us to retain and build on the gains made so far in this fight against COVID-19, the letter said.

Also Read: Genome Sequencing Of 269 Samples From Mumbai Reveals 99.63% Of Patients Infected With Omicron Sub-Variants

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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