JAMMU, APRIL 03(HS): In the backdrop of recent surge in the COVID-19 cases across the country, the Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, in a high-level meeting with the Chief Secretaries directed all the States and Union Territories to strictly implement test, trace, treat strategy, COVID appropriate behaviour and vaccination to address the challenging situation of sharp rise in the number of COVID cases. Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam along with Financial Commissioner, Health & Medical Education, Principal Secretary, Home, ADGP (Coordination) and Mission Director, National Health Mission participated in the meeting. While reviewing the situation, the Cabinet Secretary said that the country over the past few weeks has witnessed a sharp rise in COVID cases, there has been almost a ten-fold increase in the number of new cases reported in February earlier this year and now, he said. Considering the deterioration in the COVID scenario, the Cabinet Secretary emphasised that it is time once again a comprehensive approach of the Governments in the States/UTs is adopted to meet the challenge. Attributing the sudden rise in cases to complacency in the community as a result of slight improvement in the numbers ending 2020, the Cabinet Secretary informed that certain states have already crossed their previously reported peaks in the number of cases. The Cabinet Secretary reiterated that vaccination alone is no panacea to the problem but needs strictly to go hand-in-hand with testing, tracing, containment and enforcement of COVID appropriate behaviour. He added, “a clear message needs to go from top level to the entire state machinery that all weapons in the armoury are required to be utilized along with vaccination to deal with the problem”. The Cabinet Secretary urged the States/UTs to ensure a multi-sectoral response in addition to swift vaccination drives to cover maximum population of the target age groups to prevent subsequent waves of infection especially in the wake of emergence of mutant strains of the virus.