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Centre flags decline in Covid testing, asks states to enhance it

The Centre has asked states to enhance testing so that an effective track of the spread of the pandemic can be kept and immediate citizen-centric action can be initiated

Centre flags decline in Covid testing, asks states to enhance it
Immediately Increase Covid Testing In Strategic Manner: Centre To States
Highlights
  • Symptomatic patients must be tested and all at-risk contacts: Arti Ahuja
  • Seen from the data available on the ICMR portal that testing has declined
  • Community settings all those who are symptomatic must be tested: Arti Ahuja

New Delhi: Flagging a decline in the number of COVID-19 tests in many states and union territories, the Centre has asked them to enhance testing so that an effective track of the spread of the pandemic can be kept and immediate citizen-centric action can be initiated. In a letter to states and UTs on Monday, Additional Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Arti Ahuja advised them to pay attention to this aspect immediately and increase the testing in a strategic manner keeping in view the trend of case positivity in specific areas.

She highlighted that Omicron, which has been designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern, is currently spreading across the country.Referring to the ministry’s earlier letters and the Home Ministry advisory of December 27 last year laying out the broad framework of pandemic management in the context of Omicron, Ahuja said testing remains a key and crucial component.

Also Read: New Covid Treatment Guidelines: Doctors Should Avoid Giving Steroids & Advise Tuberculosis Tests If Cough Persists

However, it is seen from the data available on the ICMR portal that testing has declined in many states and union territories, she wrote.

She said in all advisories on testing issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), including the latest on January 10, the basic objective remains early detection of cases for quick isolation and care.In addition, testing remains a key strategy for pandemic management as it helps in identification of new clusters and new hotspots of infection which can in turn facilitate immediate action for containment such as setting up of containment zones, contact tracing, quarantining, isolation and follow-up. This can enable the state and district administrations to curb the spread of infection. Also this will ensure reduction in mortality and morbidity.

Progression of disease to a severe category can be averted by strategic testing of those who are at high risk and more vulnerable, as well as in areas where the spread is likely to be higher, Ahuja said.

Reiterating the advisory on purposive testing strategy issued by the ICMR on January 10, she said in community settings all those who are symptomatic must be tested and all at-risk contacts of laboratory confirmed cases must also be tested.

Also Read: Omicron – Should It Be Treated As Common Cold? Top Doctors Say We Should Not Make That Mistake

This advisory needs to be read in conjunction with the earlier guidelines and advisories of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, wherein it has been recommended that strategic and focused testing should be done of people who are vulnerable, living in closed surroundings, in densely populated areas in emerging new clusters and new hotspots of positive cases, etc., Ahuja said.

In order to ensure that an effective track of the spread of the pandemic is kept and also immediate citizen-centric action is initiated, it is incumbent upon all states/UTs to enhance testing, she said.

India has so far recorded 3,76,18,271 coronavirus cases and 4,86,761 deaths due to it. On Tuesday, the country registered 2,38,018 new infections with a positivity rate of 14.43 per cent.

(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 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,  that 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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