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The Maharashtra health department today expressed concerns over "non-reporting of Covid positive cases", who are being diagnosed with self-testing kits at home. Maharashtra is the most-affected state in the country due to coronavirus.

In this regard, the Maharashtra health department has written to all district and civic body officials to monitor sale of home test kits. They are also being told to ensure such patients report infections to the health authorities.

The letter written by Dr Pradeep Vyas, additional chief secretary of the state public health department, asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sensitise chemists and pharmaceuticals firms, who would further engage with customers buying self-testing kits to report about their infections to the authorities.

"It is expected that all COVID-19 positive tests conducted through rapid antigen test kits or home test kits are reported to the authorities. But it seems that there is a large number of coronavirus positive cases diagnosed through these kits that have not been reported to the authorities concerned and such persons appear to be in home isolation," the letter said.

The letter also said people should report Covid positive reports to the authorities at the earliest. It said that as per the genome sequencing results, about 70 per cent of the cases are of Delta strain.

"Rapid antigen tests generally do not distinguish between the Delta and Omicron variants. So it may so happen that many of these home isolated COVID-19 patients may need hospital care (particularly those with Delta strain and co-morbidities) and suddenly there may be a stress on our health infrastructure," Dr Vyas said in the letter.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra is facing a shortage of Covaxin and Covishield, said state health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday. He said vaccination drive for teenagers and precaution doses are being given to senior citizens, frontline and healthcare workers. "Due to this, we are facing the shortage of Covaxin and Covishield. We have demanded additional 50 lakh Covishield doses and 40 lakh Covaxin doses from the Central government," he added.

The positivity rate in Maharashtra stands at 21.4 per cent, while in Mumbai it is 27 per cent. India on Thursday logged 2,47,417 new coronavirus infections, the highest in 236 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,63,17,927. It also crossed a grim milestone as the country's Omicron tally reaches the 5,000-mark on Thursday.

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