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In view of initial signs of a surge in cases of Covid-19 as well as increased detection of the Omicron variant, the Centre on Tuesday wrote to all state governments regarding preventive measures needed to be taken. 

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in his letter, emphasised local-level containment to curb any possible outbreak. 

“At the district level there should be a constant review of emerging data regarding the population affected by Covid-19, geographical spread, hospital infrastructure and its utilization, manpower, notifying containment zones, enforcement of perimeter of containment zones etc," wrote Bhushan. 

“This evidence should be the basis for effective decision making at the district level itself. Such a strategy ensures that infection is contained at the local-level itself before it spreads to other parts of the state," he added. 

Further, he laid down a framework that states and union territories may use to decide on restrictions to be imposed in any district. 

Bhushan said that if test positivity of 10% or more has been reported in the last week in any district, or if the bed occupancy has reached 40% or more on oxygen supported or ICU beds, then states can impose Covid-19 restrictions to prevent further spread of infection. 

“In case any one of these parameters are met in any District, district-level containment measures and restrictions may be put in place forthwith. Equally important, the restrictions must be strictly enforced," he wrote. 

He mentioned that initial evidence shows that Omicron is at least three times more transmissible than the Delta variant. “Besides, the Delta variant is still present in different parts of the country."

“Hence, even greater foresight, data analysis, dynamic decision making and strict and prompt containment action is required at the local and district level," he said. 

“The template above provides a normative framework. However, based on the local situation and population characteristics such as density etc., and keeping in mind the higher transmissibility of Omicron, states/UTs can take containment measures and restrictions even before these thresholds are reached," added Bhushan. 

This comes as over 200 cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected across 12 states and UTs in India so far. 

Maharashtra and Delhi have recorded 54 cases of Omicron variant each, while Telangana registered 20 cases, Karnataka 19, Rajasthan 18, Kerala 15 and Gujarat 14 cases.

 

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