Millennium Post (Kolkata)
‘Covid-19 2nd wave worrying’
States of concern like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat need to ramp up RT-PCR tests, says Centre
NEW DELHI: Concerned over unprecedented rise in new Covid-19 cases, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday noted that India's Covid-19 cases trajectory in the second wave is “worrying” and the states of concern like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat need to ramp up RT-PCR tests.
Addressing a press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the Centre is continuously trying to help states and union territories in tackling the pandemic in a more effective manner.
“The previous highest surge has already been crossed and the “trend is going upward and that is a cause for worry”. The previous highest surge was 94,372 daily cases in September which is now 1,61,736 every day while the daily deaths are also showing an increasing trend,” Bhushan said.
The Health Secretary said, “In case of Maharashtra, the average daily cases week-onweek have grown significantly and have reached a level of over 57,000.”
“The tests per million are also growing but they are not keeping pace with the average daily cases. The share of RTPCR tests is progressively coming down so that is something we repeatedly request the state to address,” he stressed.
“The ideal proportion is 70 per cent RT-PCR tests and 30 per cent rapid antigen tests as both are important. Rapid antigen tests have their value as a screening test in areas that are densely populated and in those areas which are showing a recent cluster of new cases. Those who test negative in RAT have to be mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests,” he said.
“For Maharashtra, the weekly positivity rate is very high at 24.66 per cent and this is when RT-PCR tests are relatively low so we have reason to believe that if RT-PCR proportion goes up then the positivity may show a corresponding increase and it is not specific to Maharashtra but to all such states,” Bhushan said, adding that we have offered to the states that if they desire then they could make use of mobile testing laboratories.
“In Chhattisgarh, the average daily cases are up to 11,504 and RT-PCR ratio is very poor. The weekly positivity rate in the case of Chhattisgarh is increasing from 1.40 per cent to 27.95 per cent. This is another cause of concern,” he said, adding that in Uttar Pradesh, cases have increased to 10,000 in a day from on average 89 cases per day.
For Punjab, over 3,000 daily cases are being reported and average tests per million have increased but not in the same proportion as the number of cases, he said, adding that in Karnataka, now 7,776 new cases are being reported from 404 daily cases in mid February.
In Gujarat, from 275 cases per week they have increased to 4500 cases, while in Madhya Pradesh, now the average cases per day are 4,912 from 267 cases.
Tamil Nadu also has a similar situation, from 450 daily cases in mid February the cases have increased to over 5000. In Delhi, a weekly average of over 8,000 new cases is being reported now from 134 cases. In Haryana, daily cases have increased to 2,900 every day.