New Delhi: Union Health Ministry has asked the States and Union Territories to enhance testing so that an effective track of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic can be kept and immediate citizen-centric action can be initiated.

In a letter to states and UTs, Additional Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Arti Ahuja advised them to pay attention to this aspect immediately and increase the testing in a strategic manner keeping in view the trend of case positivity in specific areas.

She said that new variant of Covid-19 - Omicron, which has been designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern, is currently spreading across the country. She said that it is seen from the data available on the Indian Council of

Medical Research, ICMR portal that testing has been declined in many States and UTs.

She reminded that in all advisories issued by ICMR, the basic objective remains early detection of cases for quick isolation and care. Ms Ahuja said that in addition, testing remains a key strategy for pandemic management as it helps in the identification of new clusters and new hotspots of infection which can in turn facilitate immediate action for containment such as setting up of containment zones, contact tracing, quarantining, isolation and follow-up.

She said, this can enable the state and district administrations to curb the spread of infection and will ensure reduction in mortality and morbidity.

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