The Centre has asked a few states to increase RT-PCR testing (Representational)

New Delhi:

The government has rushed high-level teams to 10 states and Union Territories that have seen a surge in Covid cases, warning that any laxity in measures to check infection will escalate the crisis, given the new virus strains in some countries.

The Health Secretary has also written to seven states and Union Territories on the surge in virus cases and has advised specific measures.

Three-member multi-disciplinary teams have been sent to 10 states – Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Each team is headed by Joint Secretary-level officers in the Health Ministry, sources say.

These teams will work closely with the administrations and inquire into reasons for the rise in cases. They will also coordinate with health authorities of the states and Union Territories for measures to break the chain of transmission.

The states have been asked to carry out a regular critical review of the emerging situation with officials of the districts concerned.

States have reportedly been asked to set aside time to these teams for discussions with Chief Secretaries as they end their visits.

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In addition, the Centre has written to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, where there has been a rise in daily cases and the proportion of RT-PCR tests has been decreasing.

The Centre has asked these states to increase RT-PCR testing and carry out both kinds of tests in a focused manner in districts worst affected.

All symptomatic negatives of rapid antigen tests must take the RT-PCR test, the government has said. The Centre has also called for strict contact-tracing of all positive cases.

Maharashtra and Kerala alone account for 75% of the country’s current active cases after a sudden rise in new infections in recent days.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra recorded the highest number of 5,210 new cases, followed by Kerala (2,212) and Tamil Nadu (449). Maharashtra reported 18 deaths, followed by Kerala with 16 and Punjab 15, said the health ministry.

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