Four States urged to take prompt steps to curb spike in COVID-19 cases

Union Health Secretary writes to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Bengal.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday wrote to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, urging them to take steps to curb the spike in COVID-19 cases.

These States were reporting an upsurge in the number of daily new cases in the recent days, a release issued by the Health Ministry said.

The States have been advised to maintain a ‘strict vigil’ and take steps to keep a check on the rising cases, especially in view of the new strain of the virus being observed in certain countries and which has also been reported in a few States in India.

In his letter, Mr. Bhushan has drawn the attention of the States to the low and declining testing rates. Any laxity at this crucial junction may squander the results of the collective actions in containing the transmission, he noted.

The health authorities in the States have been advised to proactively promote wearing of mask and other COVID-19 appropriate behaviours even while the vaccination drive is about to begin.

“It is important to ensure that there is no complacency in the collective efforts in containment and management of COVID-19,’’ the Health Secretary has reiterated.

Bharat Biotech announcement

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech on Thursday announced “successful completion” of volunteer enrolment for Phase-3 clinical trials of its indigenously manufactured vaccine, ‘Covaxin.’

In a tweet, the company said, “COVAXIN successfully completes Phase 3 clinical trials enrolment of 25,800 volunteers.’’

Suchitra Ella, joint managing director of Bharat Biotech International Limited, said: “We sincerely express our gratitude to clinical trial sites, principle investigators & healthcare workers for their relentless support and trust in our Public-Private Partnership vaccine discovery. My deep appreciation to all the volunteers for reposing trust and expressing Pro Vaccine Public Health Volunteerism in the Phase-3 Clinical Trials of India’s first fully indigenous COVID-19 Vaccine.’’

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