COVID Spike: Centre Releases Fresh Guidelines For States, UTs; Mock Drill In April

New Delhi: India reported 1,590 fresh COVID-positive cases on Saturday, the highest in 146 days.

In view of the rise in coronavirus infections, the Union Health Ministry today released a fresh set of guidelines and pointed out insufficient COVID-19 testing in some states.

“In the past several weeks, in some states, COVID-19 testing has declined and the current testing levels are insufficient as compared to the standards prescribed by WHO i.e 140 tests/million. Testing at the level of districts and blocks also varies, with some states heavily relying on the less sensitive rapid antigen tests,” read the notification to states and UTs.

The ministry mentioned that it is important to maintain optimum testing for COVID-19, equitably distributed (with suitable modifications to address the emergence of new clusters of COVID cases) across the states.

“This is especially important to identify any emerging hotspots and take pre-emptive steps to curb virus transmission,” the communication stated.

Coronavirus and influenza have a number of similarities in terms of mode of transmission, high risk population, clinical signs and symptoms, the ministry said.

“While this may present a clinical dilemma for the attending doctors in terms of diagnosis, this also renders both these diseases easily preventable by following simple public health measures like avoiding overcrowded and poorly ventilated settings, maintaining hand hygiene, etc,” the Health ministry said.

To curb transmission of the virus, the government issued an advisory to raise community awareness.

Do’s & Don’ts To Prevent COVID Spread

* Avoiding overcrowded and poorly ventilated settings, particularly by co-morbid persons and the elderly

* Wearing of masks by doctors, paramedics and other healthcare workers as well as patients and their attendants within healthcare facilities

* Wearing of masks in crowded and closed settings

* Using a handkerchief or tissue to cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing

* Maintaining hand hygiene and frequently washing of hands

* Avoiding spitting in public places

* Promoting testing and early reporting of symptoms

* Limiting personal contact if suffering from respiratory diseases

Mock Drill On COVID Preparedness

The Health ministry also asked states and UTs to take stock of hospital preparedness, including drugs, beds including lCU beds, medical equipment, medical oxygen, capacity building of human resources on existing guidelines, as well as vaccination coverage.

The government is planning a nationwide mock drill on April 10 and 11, wherein health facilities (public and private) from all districts are expected to participate.

Details of the mock drill will be communicated to states during a virtual meeting on March 27.

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