Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has asked the health secretaries of eight states where Covid-19 infections are witnessing a spurt with less doubling time of cases to step up vigil against the spread of the infection in their respective states.

In separate letters to each of the state health secretaries on December 29, Bhushan wanted the respective health departments to address this issue proactively and immediately to avoid large scale transmission of cases and increased mortality rates due to delay in detection of infections.

The states that have been put on Covid-19 alert are Delhi, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Jharkhand.

Delhi had seen the number of Covid-19 positive cases go up to 1,789 during December 23-29 from 597 the previous week (December 16-22). In Karnataka, Bengaluru Urban region saw the number of Covid-19 cases go up to 1,902 during December 22-28 from 1,445 the previous week. In Chennai, Tamil Nadu, cases went up to 1,720 from 1,039 during the same period. In Ranchi, Jharkhand, the Covid-19 positive numbers were 249 and 76 respectively for the current week and the previous week. In Gurugram, Haryana, cases went up to 738 from 194 during the last week. Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat were the cities in Gujarat where a spike in Covid-19 cases was observed. In Ahmedabad there were 635 Covid-19 positive cases during December 22-28, as against 207 in the previous week. In Rajkot, the numbers went up to 175 from 83. In Surat, there were 247 cases registered last week as against 97 the previous week.

In Maharashtra too, there was an increase in the number of cases in several cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. In Mumbai region, Thane saw cases go up to 2,033 from 913 in a week. In Mumbai there were 6,787 Covid-19 positive cases during December 22-28, up from 2,044 the previous week. In Mumbai Sub-Urban region, cases went up to 1,670 from 521. Nagpur had 178 new Covid-19 cases last week as against 58 the week before.

The list of instructions shared with the states includes enhanced testing for Covid-19, proactive contact tracing and quarantine of positive cases, setting up of containment and buffer zones, strengthening hospital-level preparedness, increasing pace and coverage of vaccination drive, and enforcement of strict and appropriate restrictions to counter spread of infection. Close monitoring of respiratory distress symptoms has also been advised.

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