Home / News / India /  Centre urges states to increase covid-19 surveillance in congested areas

NEW DELHI : The government is concerned about the high covid-19 death rates in some sates. These include West Bengal, which has the highest death rate of 8.6%, followed by Gujarat (6.1%), Madhya Pradesh (5.9%), Karnataka (4.4%), and Maharashtra (3.7).

“There are more deaths in those states that have higher crude death rates and poor health infrastructures even in other situations," said Dr Jugal Kishore, professor and head, department of community medicine, at the central government-run Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital.

States need to focus on effective surveillance, contact tracing, and early diagnosis to keep the fatality rate low, Union minister for health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan pointed out on Friday.

Meanwhile, the central team that visited Mumbai to review the overall situation in Maharashtra said the state remains a cause for concern as it accounts for 36% of the active cases and a high percentage of the deaths in the country.

“The Centre urged the state government to increase surveillance in congested areas to stop the spread of the virus," said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union health ministry. Containment zones should be properly demarcated and contact tracing, testing and treatment of covid-positive people should be done in these areas, he said.

“While Maharashtra compares well with the national average on mortality, it is 10 percentage points below the national recovery rate of 28% and has 9% positive cases out of all tested against 4% national average," said Himanshu Sikka, lead, health, IPE Global, an international health development consulting firm.

Over the past few days, the country has seen a worsening of the doubling rate of infections as well, which has come down to 10 from 12 a few days ago, Sikka pointed out.

“The doubling rate in states such as Tamil Nadu and Punjab at five days is further worrying," he said.

The relaxations of curbs with nationwide lockdown set to end on 18 May may further raise the risk of the virus spreading.

“As we talk of relaxations, we have to deal with the challenge of learning to live with the virus. For this we need to make the required prevention measures a part of our life, through a behaviour change process," Agarwal said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that it will conduct a study in 75 covid-affected districts of the country to identify people who were exposed to the novel coronavirus but showed mild or no symptoms. The study aims to ascertain the possibility of community transmission of covid-19 in these areas.

Meanwhile, the Union government said on Friday that on average, 3.2% patients are on oxygen support, 4.7% of patients are in intensive care units, and 1.1% patients are on ventilator support.

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