New Delhi: Extremely worried with the sharp spike in coronavirus cases in the country, the Centre held a high-level meeting with administrative officials of 12 states and union territories, and municipal commissioners and district collectors of 46 most-affected districts.
The meeting, chaired by Union Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, came up with a five-point plan to curb the spread of the deadly virus in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab and Bihar.
Following is the five-fold strategy:
1. Increase testing at an exponential rate, with a higher share of RT PCR tests — more than 70 per cent of total testing should be done via this method. Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) will be mostly deployed as a screening tool in flushing out cluster cases from densely populated areas
2. Effective isolation and contact tracing of those infected. An average of 30 close contacts of those infected should be traced, tested and isolated in the first 72 hours
3. Re-invigoration of public and private healthcare resources. Infrastructure should be upgraded and healthcare workers should be ‘re-energised’ to minimise complacency and fatigue. A targeted approach to reducing mortality rate and number of deaths should be implemented
4. Attention on ensuring COVID-19 appropriate behaviour at all times, especially in crowded places like markets, inter-state bus stands, schools, colleges, railway stations etc. To ensure this, public awareness campaigns with the active participation of local community leaders, religious heads and other influencers should be organised. Introduce of heavy fines in case of failure to adhere to norms should also be made
5. Targeted approach to vaccination in districts reporting large numbers. States asked to focus on universalisation of vaccination in the specified priority population age groups as an aid to containment strategy in districts where maximum cases are being reported.