States adopt strict measures amid spike in COVID-19 cases
Following a high-level COVID-19 review meeting, the government of Kerala has decided to make masks mandatory for all vulnerable individuals, including the elderly and pregnant women, amid the recent surge in coronavirus infections nationwide. Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government also issued a "high-priority" directive and instructed authorities to ensure that international passengers are screened at every airport in the state.
Why does this story matter?
Over the past few weeks, India has reported a sharp rise in daily COVID-19 cases. Experts say the Omicron variant subtype XBB 1.16 is responsible for the latest spike in infections. This surge comes at a time when the country is also witnessing an increase in H3N2 influenza cases, prompting the Union Health Ministry to issue an advisory to states/union territories for preparedness.
Kerala health minister advises caution
While stressing the need for people to be cautious, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Saturday, "Districts like Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, and Kottayam are reporting more cases." "Likewise, admission to hospitals of COVID-19 patients are slowly increasing, but the saving grace is of those, only 0.8% of them require oxygen beds, while 1.2% are admitted to intensive care unit," added George.
Kerala beefs up COVID-19 facilities
Furthermore, the Kerala health minister also said extreme caution should be taken by individuals who have senior citizens at their homes. "Directions have gone to all districts that in the wake of an increase in positive cases to beef up their COVID-19 facilities according to 'Surge Plan.' All those who work in old age homes [and] care homes should wear N-95 masks," George stated.
Uttar Pradesh asks people to wear masks at crowded places
Amid the significant rise in the number of coronavirus cases across the state, CM Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has made use of masks mandatory for all people in crowded places. "Private and government labs should send all positive COVID-19 samples to the microbiology department at King George's Medical University (KGMU) for whole genome sequencing," the directive from the government stated.
Details on UP government's COVID-19 safety order
Meanwhile, the UP government's order also stated that integrated coronavirus command centers should be activated, rapid response teams should be sensitized, surveillance teams should be made functional, and "nigrani samitis" at the district level must be formed. Furthermore, doctors and paramedical staff should be sensitized at hospitals across the state, it said, reported the news outlet News18.
How Delhi plans to tackle COVID-19 surge
Separately, health department officials have instructed polyclinics, dispensaries, and hospitals in Delhi to ramp up their testing amid the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in the past several days, according to reports on Saturday. The national capital reported 535 fresh COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of 23.05% on Saturday, as per the data provided by the Delhi government's Health Department.
India recorded 6,100+ new COVID-19 cases on Saturday
India reported 6,155 new daily coronavirus cases on Saturday morning, with a daily positivity of 6% on a national average, revealed the Union Health Ministry. Furthermore, the country recorded an increase of over 100 COVID-19 cases compared to the previous day, taking active cases to 31,194. With 11 fresh fatalities registered on Friday, the death toll went up to 5,30,954.
Experts blame subvariant XBB 1.16 for fresh COVID-19 spike
The Union Health Ministry and healthcare experts have attributed the recent spike in cases to the Omicron subvariant XBB 1.16. Earlier, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) stated that 113 XBB 1.16 subvariant cases were reported in the country. India also reported the highest XBB 1.16 instances globally, followed by the United States (US).Share this timeline