Coronavirus | National

Centre reviews public health response to Omicron

A train passenger reacts as a healthcare worker takes a swab from her to test for the Covid-19 at a Kalupur railway station platform No. 1 in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, December 08, 2021.   | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

The five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccinate- and ‘adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour’ was highlighted as the mainstay of the public health response in managing COVID-19 by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan as he reviewed India’s preparedness for the Omicron variant and progress in vaccination on Thursday.

States were urged to enhance testing and focus on surveillance to ensure early identification of suspected cases for prompt isolation and further clinical management. They were advised to ensure the availability of RT-PCR testing in all districts.

Districts reporting higher case positivity rates are to monitor the case trajectory on a regular basis and promptly dispatch positive samples to the mapped INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) labs for whole genome sequencing.

At the meeting, close monitoring of new emerging hotspots/ clusters, breakthrough and re-infection cases, and prompt investigation of such events by rapid response teams was discussed. It was re-emphasised that all contacts of positive patients have to be traced and tested as per protocol as quickly as possible.

Based on information provided by international travellers from ‘at risk’ countries in the Air Suvidha portal, district-wise monitoring of international passengers who have tested negative on arrival, with a focus on symptomatic cases, was highlighted. In view of the forthcoming winter season, States were advised that prevalence of influenza-like illness (ILI) / severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and respiratory distress symptoms need to be closely monitored.

“In order to ensure that all hospital infrastructure is ready for any possible surge in cases, States were advised to review their readiness for providing quality medical care,” said a release issued by the Ministry.

The Health Secretary also urged States to maintain an adequate buffer stock for the eight critical drugs identified in the clinical treatment of COVID-19; the guidelines for these were shared with States in July 2021.

Underscoring the critical importance of the vaccination drive, States were advised to continue increasing the pace and coverage of the COVID-19 nationwide vaccination drive with a focus on the ongoing ‘Har GharDastak’ campaign for ensuring full vaccination of all the eligible population, with regular monitoring at the village and district levels. In order to keep rumours at bay and address issues of vaccine hesitancy, States were asked to organise evidence-informed awareness campaigns with regular media briefings.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 5:28:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-reviews-public-health-response-to-omicron/article37913949.ece

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