Taking note of the comparatively higher daily Covid cases and positivity rate, the Centre on Friday directed Kerala, Mizoram, Maharashtra, Delhi, and, Haryana to continue monitoring the spread of the infection and undertake the required steps for prompt and effective management.
In a communication, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “A sustained and significant decline in the number of Covid-19 cases has been observed in India over the past two months, with the country reporting less than 1,000 daily new cases for the past few days. The weekly positivity rate has remained below 1%. However, some states are contributing more cases than the other.”
Bhushan specifically highlighted that Kerala has reported 2,321 new cases last week, accounting for 31.8 % of India’s new cases. “The state has also seen an increase in the positivity rate in the last week from 13.4% to 15.5%,” Bhushan wrote to Kerala. “Regular monitoring and follow-up action in emerging areas of concern is crucial,” he wrote to the states.
Similarly, he told Mizoram that the state has reported 814 new cases last week, which is 11.16% of India’s new cases for the same period. “The state’s positivity rate also went up from 14.3% to 16.4%,” he wrote.
Similarly, the Union Health Secretary also red-flagged the fresh cases and higher than average positivity rate in Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana, while urging the states to follow the five-fold strategy of ‘test, track, treat, vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate bahaviour’. It has also specifically directed the states to monitor of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) cases in all health facilities on a regular basis “for detecting early warning signals of the spread of the infection”.
The health ministry has also urged the states to conduct genomic sequencing of samples of international passengers and from local clusters of cases.
Teams sent to four states to scrutinise ex-gratia claimsx
The Centre has rushed three-member teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh to scrutinise at random 5% of the claims filed for Rs 50,000 ex-gratia compensation for Covid-19 deaths as per the directions of the Supreme Court. The number of claims in the said states has been recorded more than the official Covid toll figures.
In Maharashtra, 1.41-lakh Covid deaths were recorded and 2.13 lakh claims were received. Gujarat, which reported 10,094 deaths, received 89,633 applications for compensation.
States like Haryana and Punjab, on the other hand, received fewer claims than the official toll figures.
The teams deployed by the Centre will examine the implementation of the scheme and the process being followed for payment of the ex-gratia amount. “The teams will examine the details of cases which were approved or rejected including documentation/verification undertaken for the same by the district authorities,” the Centre said in a release.
As per the Supreme Court order of March 24, 2022, those making false claims are liable to be punished under the Section 52 of Disaster Management Act that allows for a maximum imprisonment of two years and fine.
The teams have to submit their reports to the court within three months.