As coronavirus cases continued to rise in Telangana, the Union government Saturday criticised the state government for “inadequate” testing and its failure to furnish information about Covid hotspots on the central portal.
In a letter to state medical and health secretary S A M Rizvi, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote that as many as 12 districts in the state have reported a decline in the number of tests this week compared with the last, while four districts have reported an increase in cases during the same period.
While describing these as critical areas of concern, the letter said, “It has been observed that the state has not filled the Covid -19 hotspot form on the Covid-l9 India portal [for] the past 6 months and it is essential that the lacunae are addressed swiftly. Quick and continuous updates of data will assist in tracking and monitoring case trajectories and inform the strategies and plans at the Centre, State and District levels.”
Telangana reported 1,061 coronavirus infections on Friday, the highest in over six months. According to the Centre, the state has contributed 5.7 per cent of India’s weekly new cases in the week ending Friday and reported an increase in average daily new cases as well as the weekly positivity rate.
The Centre also advised the state to diligently follow the five-fold strategy—involving test, track, treat, vaccinate and adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour. It warned the state about upcoming months of festivals that may cause the transmission of infectious diseases, including Covid-19.
“It is critical for the state to ensure adequate testing is undertaken in all the districts while maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen tests. The state must also closely monitor districts reporting a higher number of cases, positivity rates and clusters to prevent further spread of infection and effective case management,” the letter said.
The Centre also asked the state to monitor regularly and report district-wise influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) in all health facilities to be able to take pre-emptive action. Samples of international passengers as well as samples collected from health facilities and local clusters should be sent to designated labs of the Insacog (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics) network for genome sequencing, the letter added.
While underlining on the need to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour in crowded places with the active participation of local community leaders and other influencers, the Union health secretary asked the state to increase the pace of coronavirus vaccination and the administration of precaution doses at all government vaccination centres under the “Covid Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav” till September 30.
The Centre has also written to the health secretaries of Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.