New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) After peak of the epi-curve was witnessed in mid-September 2020, COVID-19 cases continued to decline till February 2, 2021, after which the trajectory showed an upward trend, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
In a written reply, Choubey said an epidemiological comparison is always made for the corresponding period of previous years. Since the pandemic was only evolving in the first quarter of 2020 and that there were stringent point of entry measures, lockdown imposed by Government of India etc, the first quarter of 2021 has more cases compared to the same period of 2020, he said. 'Government of India is actively monitoring the resurgence of COVID-19 cases after a sustained decline that was witnessed since mid-September 2020,' Choubey said.
On the measures taken to combat the reported second spike of COVID-19 all over India, Choubey said any surge in cases reported and the need for institutionalizing necessary public health measures is taken up with the states concerned through formal communication, video conferences and the deployment of central team. States have been advised to put in place stringent containment measures, on a mission mode, in coordination with all stakeholders, upscale surveillance, contact tracing and testing, further intensify IEC campaign to ensure adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour, ensure adequate hospital infrastructure, focus on minimising mortality by ensuring timely referral and appropriate clinical management, and increase the pace of COVID-19 vaccination, he said.
Recognizing that the mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2 are driving the pandemic in countries of their origin, namely the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, Government of India has revised its guidelines for international travel to minimize the risk of importation and further spread of these mutant variants in India. A genomic consortium of 10 regional laboratories with the National Center for Disease Control as the apex laboratory has been established to perform genomic sequencing of the samples from positive travellers and 5 per cent of the positive test samples from the community. Such international travellers who test positive are kept in a special isolation ward, till such time they test negative. The contacts of such cases are also kept under institutional quarantine, till such time they test negative, he said. Government of India adopted a proactive, pre-emptive and graded response to deal with the unprecedented global crisis of COVID-19 pandemic and issued various guidelines to contain its spread in the country. PTI PLB AAR AAR