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Covid-19: Govt directs stepping up surveillance as cases jump in 10 states 


NEW DELHI:  With Covid-19 cases in several states, especially Maharashtra and Kerala, reporting a big surge, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday held a high-level review meeting and directed officials to focus on surveillance and genome sequencing, apart from monitoring hospitalisation.

The meeting with health officials and experts came on a day when India reported 13,313 new Covid-19 cases an 8 per cent jump from Wednesday and 38 deaths in the last 24 hours. This is the first time since February 25 that daily new cases crossed the 13,000-mark.

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Officials said Maharashtra and Kerala account for most of the new infections. Maharashtra reported 5,218 cases in the past 24 hours, with Mumbai accounting for nearly half of the new infections in the state. Both Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and CM Uddhav Thackeray have tested positive. The state, which has been witnessing a spike in cases since June 7, had recorded 3,260 cases on June 22. It also saw its highest test positivity rate (TPR)  a vital marker in assessing the spread of an outbreak  on June 22.

Kerala, which too has been reporting a surge in numbers since the first week of this month, reported 4,224 fresh infections on June 21. The last time the state had recorded 4,000-plus fresh cases in a day was in February. On June 22, it reported 3,890 fresh cases. The TPR in the state stood at 16.97  the highest in the country  on June 22.

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Delhi is another state where the uptick in cases is worrying. On Thursday, the capital recorded 1,934 new infections – more than twice the number of cases it reported on June 22 when 928 persons had tested positive.

According to health ministry data, the other states that are showing a spike in cases are Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, UP, West Bengal, Gujarat and Telangana. The health minister in his review meeting also instructed officials to continue to focus on surveillance and on whole-genome sequencing to scan for any possible mutation that could be leading to the current surge.