With Kerala contributing to 55.87% of India’s new Covid-19 cases, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has asked the state’s principal secretary of health, Dr Rajan N Khobragade, to take necessary steps to control the spread of infection and reduce fatality. The steps are a part of the ongoing strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate-Covid Appropriate Behaviour to keep the situation under control.

In a letter on December 4, Bhushan pointed out that Kerala has reported 171,521 new cases in the month ending December 3 (30 days), with 13 out of 14 districts reporting a high quantum of weekly new cases in the state. The districts of concern in the week ending December 2 are Thiruvananthapuram (5,541), Ernakulam, (4,976), Kozhikode (3,676), Thrissur (2,903) and Kottayam (2,478). Four districts are showing high weekly positivity of more than 10%, namely, Thiruvananthapuram (11.61%), Wayanad (11.25%), Kozhikode (11%) and Kottayam (10.81%) and 9 districts are reporting weekly positivity between 5%-10%, Bhushan said.

Kerala has also reported a slight increase in weekly new deaths to 2,118 deaths (week ending Dec 3) from 1,890 deaths (week ending Nov 26). Four districts Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kollam—are reporting a high quantum of weekly new deaths in the state, the letter said.

The letter reiterated the health ministry’s November 27 message to keep the new variant of concern, Omicron under check. “All states have been advised to undertake enhanced surveillance of international travellers; continued monitoring of emerging hotspots; prompt & comprehensive contact tracing of positive individuals & follow up for 14 days; sending all positive samples for genome sequencing quickly to NSACOG Labs; early identification of cases through adequate testing; review of health infrastructure preparedness (including in rural areas and for pediatric cases); and most importantly, to focus on IEC & community sensitization”, the letter said.

Though low in terms of Covid-19 infections, the Union health secretary has also written to states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, J&K, Odisha and Mizoram on the same lines as that of Kerala.

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