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Health ministry cautions eight states with soaring Covid positivity rates

34 districts have reported weekly positivity rates of over 20% from April 12 to 19; Kerala reports 28% compared to national average of 5.5%

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Ruchika Chitravanshi New Delhi

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Rising Covid cases in eight states, where some districts are showing very high positivity rates, has drawn the attention of the health ministry, with health secretary Rajesh Bhushan advising them on Friday to take public health measures to contain the surges in the initial stages. Around 34 districts in the country have reported weekly positivity rates of more than 20 per cent from April 12 to 19.

Haryana’s Yamunanagar has reported the highest positivity rate of 56.5 per cent in the country for the week ending April 19. Of the 34 districts, 14 were in Kerala, seven in Haryana, nine in Delhi.

The eight states Bhushan has cautioned include Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

While India’s weekly positivity rate is currently around 5.5 per cent, in Kerala it is much higher at 28 per cent, Haryana at over 19 per cent and Delhi almost 30 per cent. Ernakulam in Kerala has reported a positivity rate of 35 per cent for the same period.

The weekly positivity rate is only higher in states including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan compared to the national figure.

India has been witnessing a surge in Covid cases since March 2023, with 10,262 cases reported in the week ending April 20. Week on week positivity rate has gone up from 4.7 per cent to 5.5 per cent, in the last two weeks. “This is a cause of concern. While hospitalisations and deaths have remained low, districts reporting higher numbers of cases may indicate a possible localised spread of infection, thus necessitating a closer look at these states and districts,” Bhushan said.

The health secretary also said in his letter that states should strengthen Covid-19 surveillance, maintain adequate levels of testing, and increase the number of positive samples, especially from new clusters of cases for genomic sequencing.

States have also been asked to strengthen hospital infrastructure at the sub-district level and encourage precaution dose among eligible beneficiaries, while countering vaccine hesitancy.

UP has reported an increase in weekly cases from 279 for week ending April 13 to 696 for week ending April 20. While the positivity rate in the state is around 2 per cent, Gautam Buddha Nagar has reported over 22 per cent positivity. Cases have nearly doubled in Delhi, Haryana too in the course of last week. 

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First Published: Apr 21 2023 | 7:08 PM IST

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