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UP govt orders genome sequencing to study virus mutation to be better prepared for the next waves of pandemic

Health Minister JP Singh informed that the health department has been instructed to carry out genome sequencing of 10% of all positive samples. These samples will be collected from regions that have been reporting a high number of cases.

With multiple states grappling with the raging second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Yogi Adityanath government has ordered genome sequencing to study coronavirus mutations to be better prepared for the next waves.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday that the government should involve the Central Drug Research Institute to carry out studies on genome sequencing and put the study to use for planning and preparation in the fight against the pandemic. 

With the recovery rate surpassing 95% and positivity rate at just 0.5 per cent, Uttar Pradesh- one of the most populous states of the country managed to curb the second wave with intensive door-to-door testing, building rapid health infrastructure and now preparing for the next waves.

Health Minister JP Singh informed that the health department has been instructed to carry out genome sequencing of 10% of all positive samples. These samples will be collected from regions that have been reporting a high number of cases.

The Minister added, “We carried out a similar exercise in the first wave as well, where 10% of the samples were picked up for genome sequencing. Now, because of the massive spread of the virus, we need to make sure that the virus has not mutated or if it has, then the government needs to keep abreast of any changes and ensure that if there is any sequence of concern, then we have it on record.”

Additionally, the state will be undertaking sero survey to determine how many people have already been infected with the virus.

“The government will be able to determine the percentage of infection in the population, collated on the basis of gender and age. We are expecting the results of the survey to be in by the end of June,” informed a government spokesperson.

Emphasis on pediatric health infrastructure 

In view of reports by experts that suggest the possible third wave might affect children, Chief Minister Adityanath has directed the health department to complete the setting up of pediatric ICUs (PICU) and mini PICUs in hospitals by June 20.

The medical colleges have also been directed to set up 100 bed PICUs and 50 bed neonatal ICUs. PICUs are also being set up in district hospitals and community health centres. 

No extension will be given for the completion of work with inspections of the health facilities to be carried out regularly. 

To add to the preparations, the government will also start pediatric care training from June 01.

Covid-19 situation in the state

With the declining test positivity rate, the number of active cases has also come down drastically in UP. On May 31, the state recorded 1472 new covid cases. An order by the state government said that the economic activities will be allowed to resume in zones/ districts which have less than 600 active cases from Tuesday onwards.

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