Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level review meeting on Saturday (27 March) with officials of twelve states that are witnessing a surge in fresh Covid-19 cases.
The states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab and Bihar.
Through a detailed presentation, the states were informed that the country has seen the sharpest rise in weekly COVID cases and fatalities since May 2020 (7.7 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively), the Health Ministry said on Saturday.
In the meeting, the focus was on 46 districts that have contributed 71 per cent of the cases and 69 per cent of the deaths this month. Of total 36 districts in Maharashtra, 25 are most affected that account for 59.8 per cent of the cases reported in the country during the past one week, the ministry said.
A granular analysis of affected districts in these states and UTs along with some key statistics was presented in the meeting.
Almost 90 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths continue to be in the category of those aged above 45 years.
During the meeting, stringent action including effective containment and contact tracing for at least 14 successive days in the 46 districts was strongly recommended for breaking the chain of transmission and not frittering away the gains of collaborative efforts of last year.
According to the Health Ministry, a five-fold strategy was laid out during the meeting for adoption by the states and UTs for effective containment and management of the COVID pandemic. The five-fold strategy includes:
Exponential Increase in Testing
The States were strongly advised for a significant increase of testing in all districts in line with their Positivity Rate, with increased share of RT PCR tests,to a ratio of more than 70 per cent of total. Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) to be mostly deployed as a screening tool in flushing out cluster cases from densely populated areas.
Effective Isolation and Contact Tracing of those infected
Testing leading to detection of positive cases is to be followed with prompt tracing of the close contacted and swift isolation. It was advised that an average of 30 close contacts are to be traced, tested and isolated in the first 72 hours.
Re-invigoration of Public and Private Healthcare resources
It was re-emphasised to strengthen public and private hospital infrastructure and reenergise the Healthcare workers for removal of complacency and fatigue. Targeted approach to reduce mortality rate and number of deaths to be implemented. In this regard, states to strictly follow the Standard National Treatment Protocol for effective clinical management of the severe cases in ICUs. In this regard, it was pointed out that Punjab and Chhattisgarh despite being smaller in population size than Karnataka and Kerala, are reporting higher fatalities.
Ensuring of COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB)
Renewed attention to be paid to ensuring of ‘COVID appropriate behaviour’ in crowded place like markets, inter-state bus stands, schools, colleges, railway stations etc. Promotion of COVID- appropriate behaviour through sensitization and public awareness campaigns with active participation of local community leaders, religious heads of the community and other influencers.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.