Health COVID-19: 11 States/ UTs are of ‘grave concern’, says...

COVID-19: 11 States/ UTs are of ‘grave concern’, says Centre

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Centre, on Friday, categorised 11 States/UTs as “States of grave concern” on account of their high and rising daily cases and deaths.

Stating that these States/UTs — Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Haryana — have contributed 90% of Covid cases and 90.5% of deaths (as on March 31) in the last 14 days, and have crossed or are close to crossing their peaks reported last year, the Centre said the situation was particularly worrying in Maharashtra.

Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray, in an address to the state, stopped short of announcing a lockdown, but warned that a decision may have to be taken in the next two days after consultations with experts and political leaders.

On Friday, Maharashtra recorded 47,827 new Covid-19 cases, the highest since the pandemic began last year.

In a meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba in Delhi the Centre told the states that Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, along with peri-urban areas, are reporting a surge in cases that is worrisome, and the spread of infection to rural areas with weak health infrastructure could overwhelm the healthcare facilities.

The Centre told the states that the country has now reached the “critical figure” of 81,000 daily new Covid cases – it was 97,000 daily new Covid cases at the peak of the pandemic in September 2020.

The Centre underlined that 11 states are showing a surge in the cases and they have not displayed a proportional increase in containment activities.

The centre directed them to set up micro-containment zones and to ensure tracing and isolation of 30 close contacts of each infected person within 72 hours.

In a statement, the Cabinet Secretary reiterated the necessity of meticulous and hard work regarding stringent enforcement of containment and surveillance measures, in conjunction with ramping up vaccination and strict enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behaviour.

The States were specifically asked to:

  • Increase testingcontinuously to ensure that positivity comes down to 5% or less than 5%
  • Focus on ensuring RT-PCR tests comprise 70% of total tests
  • Reduce waiting time of test results with regular review with testing labs
  • Use Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) as screening test in densely populated areas and where fresh clusters are emerging.
  • All symptomatic RAT negatives to be mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests.
  • Ensureeffective and prompt isolation of those infected in institutional facilities (Covid Care Centres). Ensure that patients isolated at home are to be monitored daily. Isolated infected persons to be transferred immediately to health facilities, if required.
  • Ensure that 25 to 30 such close contacts to be traced for each infected person. Tracing of close contacts and their isolation to be done in 72 hours. Subsequent testing and follow up of all close contacts to be carried out.
  • Setting up of Containment Zones/ Micro Containment Zones to break the chain of transmission.

In order to minimize the daily fatalities, the States were advised on strengthening of public and private healthcare resources. They were specifically asked to:

  • Increase the number of isolation beds, oxygen beds, ventilators/ICU beds as per requirement.
  • Plan for adequate oxygen supply.
  • Strengthen ambulance service and reduce response time and refusal rate with regular monitoring by local administration.
  • Ensure adequate number of contractual staff and optimum rostering of duties.
  • Plan regular tele-consultation of ICU doctors at the districts with AIIMS, New Delhi Core Team or State Core Team. Tele-consultation is being conducted by AIIMS, New Delhi twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Strict enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) was reiterated. The following was underscored for immediate compliance by States/UTs:
  • Use of Police Act, Disaster Management Act and other legal/administrative provisions for imposing penalties on defaulters.
  • Use of local officials, political, cultural, sports, religious influencers to disseminate information proper wearing of masks and maintaining physical distance.
  • Focus on markets, fair/melas, social and religious congregation that could become super spreader events.
  • Awareness to be enhanced that CAB is equally important as vaccination, and this needs to be followed even after vaccination.
  • The message of ‘Dawai Bhi, Kadai Bhi’ to be effectively and profusely spread through multi-media and multilateral platforms.

On Friday, India reported a record 81,466 new cases and 469 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

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