New Delhi, March 27 (). Amid the continuous rise in Covid cases across the country, the Union Health Ministry on Monday chaired a high-level meeting through video conferencing with States and Union Territories to review the status of preparedness of the entire spectrum of management of the pandemic.
The meeting was chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog Member Health Dr VK Paul and Health Research Secretary Dr Rajeev Behl were also present.
Bhushan advised states to conduct mock drills in all health facilities on April 10 and 11 to ensure operational readiness of hospital infrastructure including oxygen cylinders, PSA plants, ventilators, logistics and human resources.
He informed about the status of the last mock drill which was conducted on December 27 in 21,939 facilities – 16,601 government and 5,338 private, and found over 94 per cent PSA plants and oxygen concentrators functional across the country while over 87 per cent ICUs Beds, ventilators, O2 beds and isolation beds were found to be in working condition.
The Union Health Secretary cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message in the high-level review meeting held on March 22 and advised the states to be vigilant and ensure preparedness for COVID-19 management. He cautioned the States/UTs against any laxity and advised them to follow the priorities listed in the joint advisory issued by the Departments of Health Research and Health and Family Welfare on Monday.
He also stressed on ramping up testing with a higher ratio of RT-PCR and whole genome sequencing of positive samples. Urging everyone to follow COVID appropriate behavior at all times, he also stressed on the need to increase the precautionary dose among the people, especially the vulnerable population group.
The meeting also discussed about the weekly positivity rate in Maharashtra, which has increased from 0.54 per cent in the week ending March 3 to 4.58 per cent on March 24. In Gujarat it has increased from 0.07 percent to 2.17 percent. In Kerala, the weekly positivity increased from 1.47 per cent to 4.51 per cent. The average weekly positivity in Karnataka increased from 1.65 per cent to 3.05 per cent, while the weekly positivity in Delhi increased from 0.53 per cent to 4.25 per cent.
Similarly, in Himachal Pradesh, the weekly positivity increased from 1.92 per cent to 7.48 per cent. In Rajasthan, it has increased from 0.12 per cent to 1.62 per cent and Tamil Nadu has registered an increase in weekly positivity from 0.46 per cent to 2.40 per cent in the same time period.
The Union Health Secretary said that despite the new COVID variant, Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and following COVID Appropriate Behavior remain the time-tested strategies for COVID management. This would help in taking appropriate public health measures, he added. States were also urged to ensure availability of adequate designated beds and health workers in the states, increase community awareness about the disease and vaccination, and regularly update COVID-19 data in the COVID India portal.