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Coronavirus | States asked to ramp up surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections or Influenza-like illnesses to detect hidden infections

Migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh sit inside a truck on the outskirts of Hyderabad on May 12, 2020 to return to their villages.   | Photo Credit: AP

Expanding the ambit of the Aarogya Setu app, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday directed that downloading it be made compulsory for all returnees (migrant labourers and those coming from abroad) for better contact surveillance and suitable medical intervention.

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It also asked the States to ramp up surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) or Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) to detect any possible hidden infections at an early stage to ensure timely containment.

The Ministry reported 3,604 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, taking the total number of positive cases in the country to 70,756. With 87 more deaths, the nationwide toll has risen to 2,293.

The country now has 46,008 active cases and 22,454 recovered, discharged or migrated cases.

India’s recovery rate is now at 31.74% while the fatality rate stands at 3.2%, according to the Ministry.

According to State Health Departments, the nationwide death toll was 2,388 with 47,544 active cases out of a total of 73,777 positive cases. Maharashtra reported 1,026 new cases and 53 deaths — 28 of them in Mumbai — taking the overall case count to 24,427 and the number of fatalities to 921, a Health Department official said.

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Also recording rising cases, Gujarat had 362 more cases and 24 deaths, including 21 in worst- hit Ahmedabad, taking the total case count to 8,904 and the fatalities to 537.

In addition to making the Aarogya Setu app mandatory, the Health Ministry also directed the States to focus on more effective surveillance, contact tracing, adequate testing and timely treatment of all the returnees, including testing at the point of disembarking, quarantining and offering further treatment.

The direction comes with an announcement by the ICMR on Tuesday on undertaking a community based sero-survey to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Indian population.

Working with the Health Ministry, National Centre for Disease Control, State health departments and key stakeholders, the ICMR survey is being coordinated by its National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) and National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) in Chennai.

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“This household level cross-sectional survey will cover 24,000 adults across four strata of districts on the basis of reported cases of COVID-19. Overall, the survey will be conducted in randomly selected 69 districts from 21 States,” an ICMR release said.

It added that the survey will involve collection of venous blood samples from 400 randomly selected individuals (one per household) from 10 clusters in each district.

“Sera from these individuals will be tested for presence of IgG antibodies using ELISA test developed by ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. The results of the survey will provide information about spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection in different parts of the country. Besides this community-based survey, Health Ministry is also initiating hospital-based surveillance to monitor the trend of infection in all districts,’’ added the ICMR release.

Coronavirus | States asked to ramp up surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections or Influenza-like illnesses to detect hidden infections

‘Rising doubling rate’

“Doubling time for COVID-19 in the past 14 days was 10.9; it has improved to 12.2 in the last three days,” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said. He added that India currently has 2.37% active COVID-19 patients in ICU, 0.41% on ventilators and 1.82% on oxygen support.

Stressing on the need to ramp-up surveillance for SARI/ILI in the affected and non-affected districts, the Health Minister said States and UTs have been told to take the help of the medical colleges.

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“Such measures will help to indicate the presence of any possible hidden infection at an early stage thus helping in its timely containment. Also we have told the States that the Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres could be used for screening for hypertension, diabetes and three types of cancers. States should provide preventive medicines and immunity boosters along with testing as and when required,” the Minister said.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 9:38:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-states-asked-to-ramp-up-surveillance-for-severe-acute-respiratory-infections-or-influenza-like-illnesses-to-detect-hidden-infections/article31569205.ece

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