Mumbai: The Union Health Secretary on Thursday wrote to the governments of Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Bengal to underline the need for “strict vigilance” and “swift action” to arrest the recent spike in coronavirus cases in each state.
These four states account for 59 per cent of all active COVID cases in the country, Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan said in his letter.
State governments were also warned against waiving test rates – particularly in light of the virus’s outbreak (and significantly more contagious) – and the aggressive ‘test-track-treatment’ strategy deployed by other states.
Mr Bhushan reminded state officials to wear face masks, maintain social disturbances and follow all other COVID-appropriate behaviour.
The letter comes after Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan singled out three of the above four states – Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra – and said a surge in cases served as a warning that the war against the novel coronavirus is far from over despite the presence of multiple vaccines.
Maharashtra is the worst affected state with around 52,000 active cases and about 50,000 deaths related to the virus. There are around 9,000 active cases in Chhattisgarh and Bengal; There have been around 10,000 deaths in Bengal, while Chhattisgarh has recorded around 3,500 so far.
In Kerala, on an average, more than 5,000 new cases have been reported in the last week. The same period saw more than 3,700 in Maharashtra, 1,006 in Chhattisgarh and 908 in Bengal.
So far, more than 70 new strain cases have been reported in India. There are 2,29 lakh active cases in India in total and more than 1.5 lakh deaths since the pandemic began in December 2019.