Centre asks states to restart monitoring ILI, SARI cases amid Covid surge in southeast Asia

Citing the resurgence of coronavirus cases in southeast Asia and parts of Europe, the Centre has asked the states to restart monitoring influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infections so that no early warning signals are missed and Covid is controlled

Testing for influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) cases has been the pillars of Covid management for the government

However, the testings were stopped recently as India has been recording a steady decline in COVID-19 cases

As part of intensified surveillance, patients being hospitalised with ILI and SARI will again be tested for COVID-19 and positive samples will be sent for genome sequencing.?

In a letter, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has asked all states and Union Territories to ensure an adequate number of samples are submitted to the INSACOG network for timely detection of new Covid variants

He also stressed on maintaining testing according to protocols, observing all precautions and not letting the guard down while resuming economic and social activities

“Effective surveillance by monitoring of emerging clusters of new cases, if any, testing as per norms and monitoring of ILI and SARI cases shall be taken up on a continued basis to ensure no early warning signals are missed and spread of infection can be controlled,” Bhushan said in the letter

He further said the state machinery should create required awareness and ensure adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour and practise effective hand and respiratory hygiene

With a spike in COVID-19 cases across Southeast Asia and some countries of Europe, a high-level meeting was chaired by Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on March 16 where the states were advised to focus on aggressive genome sequencing, intensified surveillance and overall vigil on the Covid situation, Bhushan said in the letter

He also emphasised continued focus on the five-fold strategy of test, track, treat and vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour

“All the states and Union Territories must observe all precautions and not let the guard down while resuming economic and social activities,” Bhushan stated

“It is also vital that states may ensure all eligible people are motivated to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as per the recent expansion of vaccination drive,” he added.

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