Union govt directs states to increase RT-PCR testing rate to 70%

Union govt directs states to increase RT-PCR testing rate to 70%
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday issued fresh guidelines for COVID-19 management which will be in force from April 1 to April 30, 2021.The MHA has directed the states and Union Territories where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, to rapidly increase it so that it reaches the prescribed level of 70 percent or more.  The government has said that the uneven pace of vaccinations across different states and UTs and the slow pace of vaccination in some states is a matter of concern. The government has said that vaccination against COVID-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission. Therefore, all states should rapidly step up the pace of vaccination, to cover all priority groups in an expeditious manner. The Union government has asked the states and UTs to strictly enforce the ‘Test-Track-Treat’ protocol in all parts of the country,  ensure observance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour by everyone and to scale up the vaccination drive to cover all the target groups. The new positive cases, detected as a result of intensive testing, need to be isolated or quarantined at the earliest and provided timely treatment. Further as per the protocol, their contacts have to be traced at the earliest, and similarly isolated or quarantined. Based on the positive cases and tracking of their contacts, the government has said that containment Zones shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities, at the micro level, taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by the Health Ministry The list of containment zones will be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs. This list will also be shared with the Union Ministry on a regular basis. The MHA added that there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods, including those for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission, approval or e-permit will be required for such movements. The MHA has said that all activities have been permitted outside containment zones and SOPs have been prescribed for various activities. These include: movement by passenger trains, air travel, metro trains, schools, higher educational institutions, hotels and restaurants, shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks, yoga centres and gymnasiums, exhibitions, assemblies and congregations, etc.  The SOPs, as updated from time to time, shall be strictly enforced by the authorities concerned, who shall be responsible for their strict observance, the government added.

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