Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan on Tuesday cautioned of a steady, if not a steep increase in COVID-19 cases, if the need to wear masks in crowded and closed places, vaccination and maintaining physical distancing were not reiterated.
Against the backdrop of reports of higher COVID-19 cases in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka among other States including Tamil Nadu and detection of BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages of Omicron variant in Tamil Nadu, the Health Secretary called for efforts at all levels to arrest the trend by involving all stakeholders and sensitising the people.
In a communication to district Collectors and other officials, he said so far, cases reported were mild but as the numbers increased, mortality among those with co-morbidities or elderly, especially those whose immunity levels have gone down was also likely to increase.
It would be prudent to take the warning signs seriously as Monday’s dip in cases was more likely due to lower testing during the weekend. Higher numbers are anticipated during the weekdays due to focussed testing, he said.
Greater Chennai Corporation followed by Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Coimbatore and Tiuvallur were reporting cases regularly. Now, Madurai, Vellore, Erode, Thanjavur and Ranipet had cases. A total ranging from 14 up to 17 out of the 38 districts were reporting cases off and on.
He said that every week, at least one new institutional cluster was detected. Similarly, there were sporadic clusters in families and workplaces after functions, events, gatherings or even hospital visits for other conditions.
He said over 43 lakh persons were yet to take the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 1.21 crore persons were yet to take the second dose despite being eligible. A special mega camp was being planned on June 12.
He added so far, public health experts were of the view that there was no need for any immediate panic as till now, there were only localised increases with identifiable reasons in select districts and sporadic cases in others. However, Mr. Radhakrishnan called for steps to prevent, control and reverse the trend of increasing fresh cases as quickly as possible.