Centre writes to states over rise in Covid-19 cases abroad

Update: 2022-12-20 17:55 GMT
A health worker takes a swab sample from a resident to be tested for Covid-19 coronavirus in Jiayuguan, in China's northwestern Gansu province on November 24, 2022. (Photo by AFP) / China OUT

HYDERABAD: Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to all states and Union territories to gear up genome sequencing of positive Covid-19 cases to track variants in light of spurts of cases being seen in Japan, USA, Republic of Korea, Brazil and China.

The letter states that genome sequencing will enable timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country and will facilitate undertaking of requisite public health measures. “ln this context, all states are requested to ensure that as far as possible, samples of all positive cases, on a daily basis, are sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (lGSLs) that are mapped to the States and UTs,” states the letter.

The secretary also stated that while India has been able to restrict the transmission of Covid-19 and currently records around 1,200 cases per week, the public health challenge of Covid-19 still persists around the world, with 35 lakh cases reported weekly.

The Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy issued by the Union Health Ministry in June, 2022 calls for early detection, isolation, testing and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to detect and contain outbreaks of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Thus, monitoring the trends of existing variants is of crucial importance, states the letter.

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