The COVID-19 positivity rate in the northeast has emerged as a worry for the Centre with ICMR director-general and member of India’s task force on the pandemic Dr Balram Bhragava saying that the region needed to step up testing part from keeping a watch on the district-level test positivity rate and setting up micro-containment zones.
The health ministry said on Tuesday that 45 of the 73 districts that had a COVID-19 positivity rate of over 10% in the past week were in the northeast. Of these districts with high positivity rates, three are in Arunachal, nine in Manipur, six in Meghalaya, four each in Tripura and Sikkim, three in Nagaland, and one in Mizoram. Among these states, Manipur has the highest number of active cases with 5,974, followed by Meghalaya with 4,354, Tripura with 3,962, Mizoram with 3,730, Sikkim with 1,869, and Nagaland with 1,192.
Bhargava said the Centre was encouraging the northeastern states to conduct more tests and increase their reporting of testing. He flagged the heavy rainfall in the region as a problem, and said the most important thing was to keep a watch on the average test positivity rate. Bhargava added that if the positivity rate was above 10%, they would have to set up micro containment zones.
According to Bhargava, 595 districts had been reporting positivity rate of less than 5%, while 65 districts have a positivity rate of 5-10%. He added that the second wave was under control in most states, but some were still in the midst of it. Bhargava said India was conducting 18 lakh tests a day and it is important to maintain this momentum. The ICMR chief also reiterated belief that districts with positivity rate above 10% needed to reimpose strict containment measures.