‘Matter Of Concern’: Centre Asks States, UTs to Ramp Up COVID Testing Amid Omicron Cases

The letter from the Centre to the states and UTs comes as the country on Thursday recorded the biggest single-day jump of 495 Omicron cases, taking the total number of infections of the new variant of coronavirus to 2,630.

Published: January 6, 2022 3:38 PM IST

By India.com News Desk | Edited by Manmath Nayak

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New Delhi: In the wake of rising cases of Omicron variant, the Central government on Thursday in a letter urged 9 states and union territories to ramp up COVID testing to ensure that infected people do not spread the virus to others. Notably, the letter was written by Additional Secretary of Union Health Ministry Arti Ahuja to states such as Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar.

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In the letter, Ahuja pointed out a considerable decline in COVID testing amid rising cases and positivity rate and said it is a “cause of concern”.

Ahuja in her letter said in the absence of sufficient testing, it is rather impossible to determine the true level of infection spread in the community. “With the increased detection of the Variant of Concern (VOC), Omicron, and a majority of countries seeing multiple surges in cases despite high levels of vaccination, there is a need for continued vigil and efforts to prevent any deterioration of the COVID-19 scenario,” she said in the letter.

“Keeping in mind the unpredictable and highly transmissible behaviour of Omicron and the larger preponderance of asymptomatic cases, ramping up testing in the initial days itself will help to ensure that the infected individual does not spread the virus to others,” she added in the letter.

However, the Centre advised the states and UTs to review and ensure availability of sufficient stock of testing reagents and kits etc., and regular arrangement of testing facilities, consumables, and logistics.

The letter from the Centre to the states and UTs comes as the country on Thursday recorded the biggest single-day jump of 495 Omicron cases, taking the total number of infections of the new variant of coronavirus to 2,630.

Giving details, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said Maharashtra and Delhi continued to be the worst-hit by Omicron.

Of the total, 995 people have so far recovered, the Ministry said, adding that the variant has been detected in 26 states and UTs till date.

Maharashtra tops the list with 797 Omicron cases, of which 330 patients have been discharged. The state reported 144 new Omicron cases in the last 24 hours.

Delhi’s tally has reached 465, with one case being detected in the past 24 hours. However, 57 of them have recovered from the virus. Rajasthan’s tally has climbed to 236 with 62 new cases.

Among other states, Kerala has reported 49 new cases in last 24 hrs, pushing the tally to 234. Of them, 58 have been discharged from the hospital.

Karnataka has also seen massive spike as 149 new cases were detected in last 24 hrs, pushing the tally at 226.

Gujarat has recorded 50 new infections, pushing tally at 204. However, Tamil Nadu continues with 121 cases of this varaint.

Telangana has also reported 10 more Omicron cases, taking the tally to 94, while Haryana and Odisha recorded 71 and 60 cases, respectively.

Uttar Pradesh has reported 31 cases of Omicron, so far, while Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have seen 28 and 20 cases, respectively.

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Published Date: January 6, 2022 3:38 PM IST