Fresh Guidelines Issued Amid Spike in COVID-19 Cases; Incoming Passengers to Undergo Random RT-PCR Screening
Centre directs States and Union Territories to include RT-PCR tests of at least 2 Percent International Passengers from incoming flights as part of their surveillance mechanism.
New Delhi: The Central government asked states and Union Territories on Wednesday to undertake random RT-PCR tests of passengers coming to India from International flights. As India has been consistently reporting more than 10,000 Covid-19 cases every day for the past two weeks, this is part of the government’s surveillance mechanism to track Covid-19 cases and their variants.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan issued an advisory through a letter to all the states and UTs, referring to the ‘Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in context of COVID-19’ issued by the Centre on June 9.
You may like to read
Bhushan asked them to implement the revised strategy so that cases can be detected early and confirmed cases can managed on time. It is also focused on the containment of outbreaks of new coronavirus variants.
Bhushan said the June 9 strategy was issued with the long-term vision to fully integrate COVID-19 surveillance within existing Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) mechanism.
Summarising the actions that states need to take, Bhushan said they should ensure “Surveillance of incoming International travellers which will include random screening of 2 per cent of passengers in each incoming flight into India by RT-PCR”.
He also specified the following advisory for the states and UTs:
- He stated that all positive specimens should be sent for genome sequencing and such passengers should be advised isolation and clinically managed as per the prevailing guidelines.
- He also said that all healthcare facilities should report Influenza Like Illness (ILI) cases and mentioned that the District Surveillance Officer (DSO) will be responsible to analyse the data. “Five per cent of ILI cases shall be tested through RT-PCR,” he said.
- “Health facilities should ensure monitoring of Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases in all district hospitals and selected tertiary hospitals and undertake their RT-PCR test for Covid,” he added. Also, state IDSP shall share this data on a fortnightly basis and the lab testing for COVID-19 should upload their data on Indian Council for Medical Research portal.
- The revised strategy further stressed on community-based surveillance for early detection of unusual events in the community such as large outbreaks, unusual clinical presentation of cases, mortality, etc.
- Bhushan said the three-pronged genomic surveillance strategy should be implemented by states and UTs.
- Also, positive samples from large clusters or outbreaks in the community and unusual events should also be sent for whole genome sequencing.
- “In addition, revised surveillance guidelines also call for sewage and wastewater surveillance which may provide early warnings on the potential local surge of COVID-19,” he said.
“Please ensure that the guidelines are disseminated to all districts, and identified health facilities and labs across the state and their implementation shall be ensured. I am sure the state governments and UT administrations shall make these guidelines to enable us to retain and build on the gains made so far in this fight against COVID-19,” secretary said in the letter.
For breaking news and live news updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Read more on Latest India News on India.com.