The Centre on Thursday asked all states and Union Territories to ensure high level of testing in areas that are registering new or cluster of coronavirus cases, reported PTI.

In a letter, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised the states and Union Territories to follow the five-fold strategy of combating the disease – test, track, treat, vaccinate and adhere to coronavirus-appropriate behaviour.

The letter was sent on the day India registered 7,240 new Covid-19 cases – the highest single-day infection tally since March 2.

The daily positivity rate stood at 2.13%, crossing the 2% mark after 111 days. Delhi and Maharashtra are also reporting a high number of infections.

In his letter, Bhushan said that there has been a surge in Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks after India had witnessed a significant decline in number of infections in the past four months.

He said that 2,663 average daily new cases were reported between May 25 and June 1. This increased to 4,207 average daily new infections between June 2 and June 8.

The health secretary also said that the weekly positive rate between May 25 and June 1 was 0.63% and the corresponding figure between June 2 and June 8 was 1.12%.

“Given the significance of adequate testing in early identification of cases and providing an accurate picture of the level of infection spread, it is required that states/UTs must ensure high level of testing in all such areas that are reporting new cases/cluster of cases,” he added.

Bhushan asked the states and Union Territories to prepare specific strategies for areas like testing and surveillance, clinical management, vaccination, following coronavirus-appropriate behaviour and community engagement.

The health secretary also advised the states and Union Territories to monitor the average daily tests conducted per million persons as well as the data on total RT-PCR tests done.

“This will enable states/UTs to take timely pre-emptive action wherever required,” the letter said.

Bhushan said that samples collected from international passengers, identified health facilities and local Covid-19 clusters should be sent to Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortium, or INSACOG, for genome sequencing.

The health secretary also advised the states and Union Territories to monitor cases of influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infections.

Influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infections occur when a person has a fever with body temperature above 38 degree Celsius, has cough and 10 days have passed since the onset of the symptoms, according to the World Health Organization. In severe acute respiratory infections, a person also requires hospitalisation.

Monitoring these helps in early detection of the coronavirus disease.

Maharashtra, Delhi see uptick in cases

Maharashtra on Thursday recorded 2,813 new coronavirus cases – a slight increase of 4.1% in infections recorded a day ago. On Wednesday, the state had reported 2,701 infections.

Thursday’s infection tally, however, is the highest since February 15, when the stated had recorded 2,831 cases, reported PTI.

One patient died in the state on Thursday. The number of active cases rose to 11,571.

The overall infection tally in the state climbed to 79,01,628 and the toll rose to 1,47,867.

Of the 2,813 cases, 1,702 were reported from Mumbai alone, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in a statement.

This is lower than the city’s Wednesday infection tally of 1,765. Although the cases were fewer, the daily positivity rate climbed to 9.64% on Thursday from 9.19% a day ago.

The lone death in Maharashtra on Thursday was reported from Mumbai, the civic body statement showed.

The overall case count in the city rose to 10,75,243 and the toll to 19,570.

Meanwhile, Delhi on Thursday recorded 622 new coronavirus cases, up by 58 from 564 infections recorded a day earlier, reported PTI. The positivity rate increased to 3.13% from Wednesday’s 2.84%.

With this, the city’s case tally increased to 19,10,613 and the toll rose to 26,216.