Forty-five of the 73 districts that reported over 10 per cent Covid-19 positivity rate in the last one week are from the Northeast region of the country, the Health Ministry Tuesday said.
According to the health ministry, 73 districts in India reported a positivity rate of over 10 per cent for the June 29-July 5 week. Sixty-one per cent of these high-positivity districts are from the Northeast states of Arunachal (Pradesh (18), Manipur (9), Meghalaya (6), Tripura (4), Sikkim (4), Nagaland (3), and Mizoram (1).
In the region, Manipur (5,974) has the highest active cases followed by Meghalaya (4,354), Tripura (3,962), Mizoram (3,730), Sikkim (1,869) and Nagaland (1192).
Dr Balram Bhragava, a member of the country’s Covid-19 task force and Director General of ICMR, flagged that the Northeast will have to step up testing, keep a “close watch” on the test positivity rate at the district-level and set up micro-containment zones.
“One thing that I want to emphasise, particularly for the Northeastern states, is that we are encouraging them to do more testing and increase their reporting of testing. The problem there is the heavy rains… the most important thing is that we have to keep a close watch on the average test positivity rate. It is the most important thing that helped in the second wave — if (positivity rate) is going beyond 10 per cent, they have to make micro containment zones,” Bhargava said.
He said that while 595 districts have been reporting less than 5 per cent positivity, an average of 18 lakh daily tests has to be maintained by states as some of them are still in the midst of the second wave.
“Today, we have more than 73 districts with more than 10 per cent positivity, 65 districts have a positivity rate between 5-10 per cent, 595 districts which are below 5 per cent. The second wave has come down in most states. However, some states are still in the midst of the second wave…we have to continue to maintain a high level of testing. We are doing an average of 18 lakh tests per day; we need to maintain the momentum,” Bhargava said.
Bhargava reiterated that districts reporting more than 10 per cent positivity need to re-impose strict containment measures. “If the test positivity is less than 5 per cent, it is a good sign, and the administration can ease the restrictions. But if the test positivity rate goes beyond 10 per cent, then we need to reinstate restrictive measures. Because the virus is still lurking around and we are fighting the virus,” he said.