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Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who chaired a high-level COVID review meeting on Thursday, directed state governments to focus on districts reporting high case positivity and undertake adequate testing with a higher proportion of RTPCR tests. The meeting was called owing to the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases. 

He further instructed the officials to continue to focus on surveillance and on Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to scan for any possible mutation along with increasing the pace of vaccination. 

The meeting was attended by the core team of experts including Dr Randip Guleria, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava and NCDC director Sujeet Singh. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary of Department of Biotechnology Rajesh S Gokhale, Secretary in the Department of Pharmaceuticals S Aparna were also present at the meeting. 

For the past couple of weeks, India has been witnessing a sharp jump in COVID cases. A total of 10 states -- Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Gujarat -- have over 1,000 active cases.

Forty-three districts in India, including 11 from Kerala, six from Mizoram and five from Maharashtra, are reporting a weekly Covid positivity rate of more than 10 per cent. In 42 districts, including eight from Rajasthan, five from Delhi and four from Tamil Nadu, the weekly positivity is between 5 and 10 per cent, sources said.

As per INSACOG, the current covid surge is caused by Omicron and its sublineages, primarily BA. 2 and BA.2.38. The BA.2 and its sublineages constitute over 85%of the cases with BA.2.38 being found in around 33% of the samples. The percentage of BA.4 and BA.5 is found in less than 10 per cent samples, the source said.

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