10-20 Kumbh pilgrims testing Covid-19 positive daily: Centre

Noting that there’s a potential of an upsurge in Covid-19 circumstances in the course of the Kumbh Mela, the Centre has written to Uttarakhand strongly highlighting the issues raised by a high-level central crew in regards to the want for stringent measures to manage the unfold of the illness.

The central crew led by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Director visited Uttarakhand on March 16-17 to evaluation the medical and public well being measures undertaken by the state for the continuing Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, the Health Ministry mentioned in an announcement.

In his letter to the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has noticed that greater than 12 states in India have proven a surge in Covid-19 circumstances in the course of the previous few weeks, and pilgrims anticipated to go to Haridwar in the course of the Kumbh Mela may be from these states.

“It has been noted that there is a potential of an upsurge in cases in the local population after the auspicious Shahi Snan days during the Kumbh Mela,” the ministry mentioned.

“The secretary also noted that as per the report of the central team, 10-20 pilgrims and 10-20 locals are being reported positive every day.

“This positivity rate has the potential to quickly turning to an upsurge in circumstances, given the anticipated giant footfall throughout Kumbh,” the ministry said in its statement.

The state has been informed that the daily testing numbers reported in Haridwar — 50,000 Rapid Antigen tests and 5,000 RTPCR tests — are not enough to effectively offset a huge number of expected pilgrim footfall.

It has been advised that the share of RTPCR tests being conducted at present needs to be significantly increased as per the ICMR guidelines to ensure that the pilgrims and local population is appropriately tested.

The state government has been advised to follow scrupulously the SOPs issued by the ministry and display signage to disseminate the main points of these SOPs; increase awareness of self-reporting, especially among local population, in case of symptoms suggestive of Covid-19; and set up system for generating early warning signals in areas with susceptible population by monitoring trend of ARI/ ILI cases through Emergency Operational Centres.

It has also been urged to target significantly enhanced testing in potential high transmission areas, continue periodic testing of frontline workers before and after auspicious bathing days of the Kumbh and ensure operationalisation of adequate critical care treatment facilities.

It has also been asked to ensure effective risk communication, by using all forms of media platforms, for strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour.

“In case of surge in circumstances/tremendous spreader occasions, promptly ship samples for genome sequencing in session with NCDC,” the ministry mentioned.

The Union Health Secretary has urged the Uttarakhand authorities to take a stock of the general public well being measures being undertaken by the state in consonance with the aforesaid suggestions of the Health Ministry, the assertion added.

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