The Union health ministry on Saturday wrote to Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha and Mizoram to take necessary steps under the 'Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate-Covid Appropriate Behaviour' strategy to control the spread of COVID-19 and reduce fatality.
The move comes in view of rising cases of the infection, weekly positivity rates and weekly deaths in some districts.
Referring to a letter sent to all states/UTs on November 27 in the context of the new Omicron variant, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Saturday said all states have been advised to undertake enhanced surveillance of international travellers, monitor emerging hotspots, prompt contact tracing of positive people, besides sending all positive samples for genome sequencing, early identification of cases and review of health infrastructure preparedness, and most importantly to focus on IEC and community sensitisation.
In a letter addressed to the principal secretary (Health), he pointed out that Karnataka has reported 8,073 new cases in the month ending December 3 (30 days).
It is also important to note that the state has reported a slight increase in weekly new cases to 2,272 cases (week ending December 3) from 1,664 cases (week ending November 26), along with an increase in weekly new deaths from 22 to 29 over the same period, Bhushan said.
An increase in weekly new deaths has been noted in Bengaluru Urban, from eight new deaths reported in the week ending November 25 to 14 deaths in the week ending December 2, he said.
According to the health ministry, rise in weekly cases have also been noted in Tumakuru, Dharwad, Bengaluru Urban and Mysuru in the southern state.
The secretary further said Kerala has reported 1,71,521 new cases in the month ending December 3, with a contribution of 55.8 per cent to the country's new cases from over the past month.
"Also, 13 out of 14 districts are reporting a high quantum of weekly new cases in the state. 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)," Bhushan noted.
Four districts --Thiruvananthapuram (11.61 per cent), Wayanad (11.25 per cent), Kozhikode (11 per cent) and Kottayam (10.81 per cent) -- are showing high weekly positivity of more than 10 per cent, while nine districts are reporting weekly positivity between 5-10 per cent.
"Kerala has reported a slight increase in weekly new deaths to 2,118 deaths (week ending December 3) from 1,890 deaths (week ending November 26). Four districts -- Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kollam -- are reporting high quantum of weekly new deaths in the state," he highlighted.
As for Jammu and Kashmir, Bhushan said, it has reported 4,806 new cases in the month ending December 3, with a few districts such as Kathua, Jammu, Ganderbal and Baramulla showing an increase in the previous week.
Tamil Nadu has reported 23,764 new cases during the same period. Vellore, Thiruvallur and Chennai showed an increase in weekly new cases in the past week.
As far as Odisha is concerned, Bhushan pointed out that the state has reported 7,445 new cases during the same period, with a contribution of 2.5 per cent to India's new cases from over the past month.
"It is important to note that Khordha district in the state is reporting a high quantum of weekly new cases with 900 new cases reported in the week ending December 3. Further, six out of 30 districts ---Dhenkanal, Kandhamal, Nabarangpur, Kendujhar, Anugul and Balangir-- reported an increase in the weekly caseload as compared to the week ending November 26," he said in the letter addressed to the Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Odisha.
Further, the state exhibited a decline of 3.1 per cent in weekly tests conducted, from 4,01,164 tests in the week ending November 26 to 3,88,788 tests in the week ending December 3, with -36 per cent RT-PCR share, the Union health secretary highlighted.
Mizoram has reported 12,562 new cases in the month ending December 4, with a contribution of 4.1 per cent to India's new cases from over the past month.
It is important to note that Aizawl district is reporting a high quantum of weekly new cases with 1,079 new cases reported in the week ending December 3.
Further, four out of 11 districts -- Saiha, Khawzawl, Serchhip, Mamit -- reported an increase in the week ending December 3, as compared to the week ending November 26.
Also, eight out of 11 districts are showcasing high weekly positivity of more than 10 per cent, Bhushan said in his letter.
"In this context, required necessary steps to control the spread of infection and reduce fatality need to be taken as per the ongoing strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate-Covid Appropriate Behaviour to keep the situation under control," he underlined.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will continue to provide requisite support to states/UTs in the ongoing and collective efforts against COVID-19, he added.