Wednesday, November 29, 2023

‘Test, track, treat, vaccinate’: Centre to States

Amid rising cases of Covid-19 in China and some other countries, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya asked the states to follow the ‘test, track, treat and vaccinate’ strategy and follow Covid appropriate behaviour.
In a meeting with the state health ministers to ascertain the Covid situation, Mandaviya asked them to step up testing, boost surveillance and ensure readiness of hospital infrastructure.
Mandaviya also asked the states to be alert and said that the Centre and states have to work in a collaborative spirit as was done during the previous Covid waves.
Meanwhile, in a letter to states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan stressed on monitoring and reporting of district-wise influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) cases in all health facilities on a regular basis for detecting the early rising trend of cases.
These cases may also be tested for COVID-19, Bhushan said.
Ensure higher samples for whole genome sequencing amongst positive samples of COVID-19 in the community so as to enable timely detection of new variants, if any, in the country, he wrote.
“Considering the upcoming festive season and new year celebrations, there is need to put in place requisite public health measures and other arrangements to minimize risk of increase in transmission of the disease by maintaining and strengthening focus on test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, i.e. use of mask, hand and respiratory hygiene and adherence to physical distancing,” he said.
Bhushan asked the states to ensure adequate testing in all districts, maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen tests, and take stock of existing hospital capacities in terms of bed availability, logistic requirements as well as need for re-orientation of healthcare workers in clinical management of COVID-19 to remain prepared for any surge in cases.
This may be tested by conducting “dry runs” in hospitals, he said.
“COVID-19 vaccination efforts need to be bolstered by creating community awareness. Special focus on increasing the coverage of ‘precaution dose’ is required by all states and UTs.
“In terms of preparedness for upcoming festivities, it is essential that all measures are put in place with relevant stakeholders like event organisers, business owners, market associations, etc. to avoid overcrowding, ensure adequate ventilation especially in indoor settings, wearing of masks in such places where crowds congregate,” he said in the letter.
Meanwhile, the Health ministry is mulling reintroduction of mandatory air suvidha forms with negative report of RT-PCR test conducted 72 hours prior to travel or complete vaccination proof for passengers coming from China and other countries reporting high number of Covid cases.
A decision on this is likely to be taken next week after monitoring the global situation.
Covid-19 response mock drill on Dec 27
ANI: A mock drill to test the Covid emergency preparedness would be conducted in hospitals across the country on December 27.
“A mock drill for an emergency response to deal with Covid 19 cases will be conducted at hospitals across the country on December 27, the Union health minister will also be participating in the Mock drill,” official told ANI .The mock drill is being conducted amid fear of a Covid surge in the country in the wake of a spurt of Covid cases reported in China and other countries.
According to officials, travel guidelines have been revised and issued. 2% random screening of international passengers to be re-initiated from December 24, the random screening charges will be charged to the passengers.



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