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‘Test-Track-Treat’ Strategy Necessary To Curb Covid Spread: Centre To States, UTs

The Centre has asked all states and Union Territories to ramp up Covid-19 vaccination to break the chain of transmission of the virus

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‘Test-Track-Treat’ Strategy Necessary To Curb Covid Spread: Centre To States, UTs
A BMC health worker collects swab sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test, at Dadar railway station in Mumbai.
PTI
‘Test-Track-Treat’ Strategy Necessary To Curb Covid Spread: Centre To States, UTs
outlookindia.com
2021-06-19T13:23:54+05:30

Amid a steady decline in the number of Covid-19 cases across India, the Centre on Saturday reasserted the need to “test-track-treat” and asked all states and Union Territories to not let their guard down and ensure that a five-fold strategy of Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed to curb the spread of the virus.

The Centre also warned of complacency and highlighted that ever since most states and UTs lifted many of their Covid restrictions, there have been cases of overcrowding in markets and other public places, which may lead to a Covid resurgence.

The development comes in the backdrop of the country logging 60,753 new coronavirus infections and 1,647 fatalities during the last 24 hours. With the latest addition, the country’s national Covid caseload rose to 2,98,23,546 while the death toll surged to 3,85,137.

According to the Union health ministry data updated at 8 am, active Covid cases in the country comprise 2.55 per cent of the total infections, and the number of active cases stand at 7,60,019.

In the backdrop of these developments, in a communication to all states and UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Saturday said that vaccination against Covid-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission. Therefore, all state and UT governments should step up the pace of vaccination, to cover maximum number of people in an expeditious manner, he said.

The home secretary said that during the second Covid wave, a significant surge in cases was witnessed in several states and UTs, and many of them imposed restrictions in order to contain the spread of the infection.

"With a decline in the number of active cases, many states and UTs have started relaxing restrictions. I would like to highlight that the decision to impose or ease restrictions has to be taken, based on the assessment of the situation at the ground level," he said.

Bhalla said while the opening up of activities, after decline in cases is essential, states and UTs must ensure that the whole process is "carefully calibrated".

"While opening up, it would be extremely important to follow the five-fold strategy of Covid appropriate behaviour, test-track-treat and vaccination," he said.

The home secretary said regular monitoring of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is required to prevent relapse.

To reiterate, Covid appropriate behaviour includes mandatory use of masks, hand hygiene, social distancing and also proper ventilation of closed spaces, he said.

"However, easing of restrictions in some states, have led to resumption of crowding of people in markets etc., without adherence to the norms of Covid appropriate behaviour," he said.

It is, therefore essential to ensure that complacency does not set in, and there is no let-up in adhering to Covid appropriate behaviour, while opening up activities, the home secretary said.

Bhalla said to contain the spread of the infection on a sustainable basis, it is necessary to continue the strategy of test-track-treat. It may especially be ensured that the testing rate does not come down, he said.

Bhalla said as the situation is dynamic, a close watch needs to be kept on early signs of a surge in active cases or high positivity rates.

He said a system should be in place at the micro-level to ensure that whenever cases rise in a smaller place, it gets checked there itself, through local containment measures as per the existing guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

"I, therefore, urge you to issue directions to district and all other authorities concerned, to keep a close watch on the situation, while activities are opened in a cautious manner, and to scrupulously ensure that there is no complacency in adhering to Covid appropriate behaviour and in the test-track-treat-vaccinate strategy," Bhalla said in his communication to states and UTs.

(With PTI inputs)

 


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