The Union Health Ministry has written to eight states where the localised spread of Covid infection is the highest to institute public health measures to control and contain such surges in the initial stages itself.

The Union Health Ministry has asked all eight state governments to institute prompt and effective public health measures, which include strengthening of Covid surveillance, monitoring trends of influenza-like illness, increasing the number of Covid testing, increasing the number of whole genome sequencing of positive samples, encourage precautionary doses of vaccination and improving community awareness.

The ministry maintains that the five-fold strategy for the control of the pandemic i.e., test, track, treat, vaccination and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour remains the time-tested approach.

The communication to states comes after India witnessed 10,262 cases of Covid infections during the week ending April 20. On a national basis, the rate of Covid positivity among the patients who are tested for the infection is also on the rise, with 5.5% positivity recorded in the week ending April 19 against 4.7% positivity during the previous week.

However, in the eight high-incidence states, the positivity rates were much higher than the national average. The states where the incidence is high are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The most widespread incidence was in Kerala and Delhi where all the districts were in the 10% plus category in terms of Covid-19 incidence. Yamuna Nagar district in Haryana registered the highest positivity rate of 56.5% during the April 12-19 week.

The positivity rate in Kerala during April 12-19 week was as follows: Ernakulam (35%), Wayanad (34.3%), Idukki (31.7%), Kottayam (30.5%), Kollam and Kannur (29.9%), Pathanamthitta (29.7%), Kozhikode (26.8%), Thrissur (25.2%), Thiruvanthanapuram (23.3%), Kasaragod (23.1%), Palakkad (22.4%), Malappuram (20.1%) and Alappuzha (20%).

The positivity rates in Delhi during the same week were East Delhi (35.1%), South Delhi (34.4%), Central Delhi (32.5%), West Delhi (31.8%), North West (31.2%), South East (29.2%), North Delhi (28.1%), New Delhi (25.7%), South West (21.6%), Shahadara (20.2%) and North East Delhi (19.6%).

In addition to Yamunanagar, Haryana had 11 more districts with high positivity rates. This includes Rewari (29.1%), Gurugram (28.4%), Faridabad (25.8%), Sonipat (24.1%), Kaithal (23.7%), Panchkula (23.3%), Rohtak (18.4%), Hisar (17.5%), Panipat (11.3%), Karnal (10.3%) and Jhajjar (10.1%).

In Uttar Pradesh, one district Gautam Buddha Nagar reported a positivity rate of 22.3% during the April 12-19 week. Lucknow (8.9%), Meerut (7%), Jhansi (6.5%) and Ghaziabad (6%) are the other districts where the positivity rate was higher than the national average for the week.

In the case of Tamil Nadu, 11 districts reported a positivity rate higher than 10% during the April 12-19 week. The districts are Thanjavur, Krishnagiri, Tuticorin, Villupuram, Nagapattinam, Ranipet, Thiruvarur, Coimbatore, Virudhunagar, Ariyalur and Chennai.

Rajasthan had six districts – Dungapur, Skiar, Jhodpur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Barmer – with positivity rates higher than 10% during the week. Maharashtra had eight districts – Nagpur, Chandrapur, Mumbai, Palghar, Pune, Sangli, Mumbai Suburban and Raigad – in the 10% plus incidence category.

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