5 NE states told to step up Covid testing


The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has asked five northeastern states to increase testing and take immediate steps to control the spread of Covid-19, officials said on Wednesday.

Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in letters to the Health Secretaries of Nagaland, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, said that it is important to increase the testing of samples in regards to Covid-19 considering the recent increase in travelling, due to various events such as marriages, festive celebrations, vacations having either recently concluded or underway.

“A decrease in testing would undermine the actual infection spread within the community. Also, with the onset of winter and increased pollution in some states, prevalence of ILI/SARI and respiratory distress symptoms should be closely monitored, with tests conducted regularly for timely monitoring and clustering of cases for early hotspot identifications,” he said in the letter.

Bhushan also said that with a majority of countries seeing multiple surges in Covid cases in recent times and a few developed countries facing even fourth and fifth waves despite high levels of Covid vaccination, there is a need for continued vigil given the unpredictable and contagious nature of the disease.

“Hence, all efforts must be implemented to preserve the gains made so far and to prevent deterioration of Covid-19 scenario across the country,” he said.

Ministry data on Wednesday said that the Covid-19 death ratio in three northeastern states – Nagaland (2.17 per cent), Meghalaya (1.74 per cent) and Manipur (1.57 per cent) – are higher than the national mortality rate of 1.35 per cent.

With 0.36 per cent fatality ratio, Mizoram has the lowest count in mortality due to Covid but the northeastern state’s active ratio of 3.36 per cent is the highest in the country, it showed.

Mizoram health officials in Aizawl said that the state for the past around three months has been undertaking mass testing of people mainly through the Rapid Antigen method and might be due to this, the number of positive cases has gone alarmingly high.


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