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Center warns of Covid noise, urges Uttarakhand government to impose strict curbs

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The center has warned the Uttarakhand government of a possible increase in 19 cases in the local population in Haridwar after the good days of Shahi Snan during the ongoing Kumbh Mela.

Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary of the Union, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare wrote to the Chief Secretary Uttarakhand strongly emphasizing the concerns raised by the high-level central team during his visit to Uttarakhand and about the need for strict measures for him controlled the spread of Covid-19 during Kumbh Mela.

A high-level Central Team led by the Director of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) visited Uttarakhand on March 16-17, 2021 to review the medical and health preparedness measures taken by the state for the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

Currently more than 12 states in India have shown an increase in cases of covid-19 over the past few weeks, and pilgrims expected to visit Haridwar during Kumbh Mela may also be from these states. According to the Central Team report, 10-20 pilgrims and 10-20 locals report positively every day. “This rate of positivity has the potential to quickly turn into a rise in cases, given the big steps expected during Kumbh,” the Union Health Secretary said in the letter.

The state has been informed that the daily test numbers reported in Haridwar (i.e. 50,000 Rapid Antigen Tests and 5,000 RTPCR tests) are not sufficient to effectively offset the large number of pilgrim receptions. Beenshte advised that the percentage of RTPCR tests currently performed should be significantly increased according to the guidelines of the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) to ensure that pilgrims and the local population are properly tested.

The Center has advised the State Government to take measures to prevent the spread, such as strictly following the instructions issued by the union health ministry, raising awareness of self-reporting, especially among the local population, in case of symptoms suggestive of covid-19. The center said the state should establish a system for generating early warning signals in areas with sensitive populations by monitoring the trend of severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and cases of flu-like illness (ILI) through Emergency Operations Centers.

The center has also asked the Uttarakhand government to aim for significantly expanded testing in potential high-transmission areas, to continue periodic testing of front line workers before and after Kumbh’s good days, to ensure functionalization of adequate critical care treatment facilities and in the event of an increase in superdistribution cases / events, send samples for genome sequencing immediately in consultation with the NCDC.

Meanwhile covid-19 cases are witnessing an upward trend with 43,846 new daily cases reported in the last 24 hours, raised this year so far. Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh account for 77.7% of new cases in the last 24 hours, according to data from the union health ministry. With 83.14% of new cases coming from 6 states, Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 27,126. It is followed by Punjab with 2,578 while Kerala reported 2,078 new cases. Caseload Active of India stands at 3.09 lakh (3,09,087) as of Sunday. At least 197 deaths were also reported in the last 24 hours. Six states account for 86.8% of new deaths. Maharashtra without maximum casualties (92). Punjabi follows with 38 daily deaths. Kerala reported 15 deaths, according to data from the union health ministry. Starting coronavirus vaccination from January 16, 2021, India vaccination coverage on Sunday was close to 45 million.

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