New Delhi: With the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia and some European countries, the Centre has advised States and Union Territories to continue focusing on the five-fold strategy that is test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour.
In a letter to all Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Secretaries (Health) of all States and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan informed that a high-level meeting was chaired by the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on March 16, 2022 wherein it was advised to "focus on aggressive and sustained genome sequencing and intensified surveillance and keep an overall vigil on the COVID-19 situation."
"I would also like to emphasize that there should be continued focus on the five-fold strategy, i.e., Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behavior," he said.
The Centre has also asked the States and UTs to ensure that adequate number of samples are submitted to INSACOG network through Sentinel sites as per the protocol issued by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is the Nodal Agency for INSACOG, to ensure timely detection of new variants while maintaining adequate testing as per the protocols for testing laid by ICMR.
"Effective surveillance by monitoring of emerging clusters of new cases, if any, testing as per norms and monitoring of ILI and SARI cases shall be taken up on a continued basis to ensure that no early warning signals are missed and spread of infection can be controlled," the Centre said.
The Union Government also pointed out that it is vital to encourage eligible beneficiaries to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Notably, the COVID-19 vaccination drive was expanded to include children in the age group 12-14 years on March 16 and are being vaccinated with Corbevax vaccine. Moreover, all those above 60 years of age are also eligible to take 'precaution dose'.
The Centre said that the State machinery should create required awareness and ensure adherence to COVID Appropriate Behavior, that is, wearing of face masks, maintaining physical distancing in all public areas/gatherings and practice of effective hand and respiratory hygiene.
Meanwhile, India on Friday reported 2,528 new COVID-19 cases,997 recoveries, and 149 deaths. India's Active caseload currently stands at 29,181.