The high daily COVID-19 caseload in Telangana during the past month has prompted Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to write to the State government advising increased testing and steps to prevent further spread of infection.
In a letter addressed to Principal Secretary of the State’s Health department SAM Rizvi, he has flagged the decline in testing rate in 12 districts, possibility of transmission of infectious diseases including COVID-19 in the coming days, and other aspects related to management of the disease.
“lt has been observed that the state has not filled the Covid-19 Hotspot form on the Covid-19 India Portal since the last 6 months and it is essential that the lacunae is addressed swiftly,” the Union Health Secretary stated in the letter.
The 12 districts with low testing include Mulugu, Khammam, Jayashankar Bhupalapally, Bhadradri Kothagudem and Suryapet. The weekly tests in the districts from July 22 to 28, and from July 29 to August 4 were mentioned in the communication.
Stating that it is critical to ensure adequate number of tests across the State, he has suggested close monitoring of districts where high number of cases, high positivity rate and clusters are reported in order to avoid further spread of the infection.
Since various festivals would be celebrated in different parts of the country over the next few months, the possibility of mass gatherings and inter and intra state journeys were mentioned as potential factors for transmission of infectious diseases.
Mr Bhushan listed some suggestions such as monitoring and reporting district-wise influenza-like illness (lLl) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) in all health facilities, genome sequencing of prescribed samples of international passengers, collection of samples from Sentinel Sites and local cluster of cases.
Focus on ensuring COVID-appropriate behavior in public places such as bus stands was also stressed. Mr. Rizvi has been advised to increase the pace of vaccination against COVID-19 for the eligible population.