The Cabinet Secretary held a video conference with the Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of nine States and one UT on Thursday.
The States/UT that attended the video conference were Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, along with the Union Health Secretary, DG ICMR and Member (Health), NITI Aayog.
The VC was convened to review and discuss the COVID management and response strategy in these States/UT.
The Union Health Secretary made a detailed presentation on the current status of COVID-19 in these States/UT with a focus on districts reporting high case fatality and the need to refine as well as strengthen approach and strategies relating to testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, home isolation, availability of ambulances, hospital beds, oxygen, treatment protocols, etc.
It was observed that out of the total deaths in the country in the last two weeks, 89% of deaths are in these 10 States/UT and hence, these States/UT need to have continued and rigorous vigil so as to contain the spread of infection as well as take steps to reduce fatalities.
The States/UT were advised to proactively take steps towards reducing case fatality to less than 1% across all districts focusing on:
- Effective containment, contact tracing & surveillance
- Ensuring that at least in 80 % of new positive cases, all close contacts should be traced and tested with 72 hours
- Ensuring a minimum of140 tests per million per day in all districts while targeting a positivity/confirmation rate of <5%
- Leveraging Antigen tests in containment zones/healthcare settings & retesting of all symptomatic negatives with RT-PCR
- Regular monitoring of home isolation patients (tele-calling and home visits) and ensuring timely admission to the healthcare facility if SPO2 level falls below the designated level
- Putting in public domain the availability of beds and ambulances across COVID facilities while significantly reducing ambulance response time
- Saving lives by effective clinical management of all cases
- Monitoringweek-wise fatality rates for each health facility with particular focus on vulnerable patients (Comorbid, patients > 60 years’ age)
- Upgrading COVID dedicated facilities based on case load
- Monitoring availability and usage of necessary drugs, masks and PPE kits in all facilities
- Focus on Behavioral Change Communication promoting COVID appropriate behaviour consisting of social distancing, wearing of masks, hand hygiene, cough etiquettes etc.
The Chief Secretaries explained the current situation in the States/UT and their preparedness to tackle the spread of COVID-19, health infrastructure available to meet the challenge and steps taken to strengthen it further. States/UT also highlighted steps taken towards reducing case fatality as well as involving the community in terms of COVID safe behaviour.