Several countries, including China, have recently reported the highest single-day surge in COVID-19 cases ever since the outbreak. For the first time since the end of January 2022, the world has reported a rise in weekly coronavirus cases. According to the WHO's weekly epidemiological update on March 15, the global case tally has increased by 8%.
India's Strategy For The 4th Wave
Concerns about a possible fourth wave of the pandemic hitting India in the coming days have prompted the Centre to advise States and UTs to stick to the five-pronged strategy for preventing the COVID-19 induced 4th wave.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written a letter to all Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, and Secretaries (Health) of all States and UTs, emphasising the importance of focusing on the five-pronged strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behavior, as reported by ANI.
The States/UTS should focus on aggressive and sustained genome sequencing, increased surveillance, and overall vigilance regarding the COVID-19 situation and emphasise the importance of maintaining the five-pronged strategy, namely, Test-Track-Treat Vaccination and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behavior.
States should also ensure that an adequate number of samples are submitted to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) network via Sentinel sites following the protocol issued by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which serves as the Nodal Agency for INSACOG, to ensure timely detection of new variants while maintaining adequate testing as per ICMR testing protocols.
Effective surveillance, including monitoring emerging clusters of new cases, testing following standards, and tracking of ILI and SARI cases, will be carried out on an ongoing basis to ensure that no early warning signals are missed, and the spread of infection can be controlled.
It is also critical that states ensure that all eligible people are motivated to get vaccinated against COVID-19, following the recent expansion of the vaccination drive to young adults, preventive doses for adults, and the completion of doses for all adults.
According to Health Ministry data, as of March 1, 2021, there were 4.7 crore children aged 12 and 13. Furthermore, over 2.15 billion precautionary doses of the vaccine have been administered to healthcare and frontline workers and those over 60. And the current vaccinations for children aged 12 to 14 years old began on Wednesday. This age group is being vaccinated with Biological E's intramuscular vaccine Corbevax, administered in two doses 28 days apart.
Basic Protocols And Awareness
The state apparatus should raise awareness and enforce COVID Appropriate Behavior, such as wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance in all public areas/gatherings, and practising effective hand and respiratory hygiene.
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