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Coronavirus | Centre tells UTs to gear up for three weeks

A health worker taking a sample at a government school in Puducherry's Reddiarpalayam. File.   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

Centre has informed all the eight Union Territories that the next three weeks were crucial. The UT administrations including the Delhi Government “were advised to plan in advance for three weeks.”

Delhi raised the issue of shortage of beds at a meeting held by the Union Secretaries of Home and Health to review the status of COVID-19 management in all the eight Union Territories on Tuesday.

Also read: Union Territory sees a sharp spike in new COVID-19 cases

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired the meeting to review and discuss the COVID-19 status and the management and response strategy with Chief Secretaries of all the UTs. The meeting, held through video conference, was also attended by Dr V.K. Paul, Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Dr Balram Bhargava, DG Indian Council of Medical Research and the Directors General of Police of all the UTs.

Mr. Bhalla pointed out that India has reported almost 10 times more cases since January 1 and more than 2,00,000 cases were being reported daily since April 15. In the last 11 days, new cases have almost doubled from 1.31 lakh (on April 9) to 2.73 lakh cases on April 20.

“The UTs shared their present efforts for containment and management of the positive cases. Ladakh, J&K, and Lakshadweep pointed to the rise in cases due to large number of inbound travellers. Lakshadweep has seen a sudden spike after April 14 primarily due to travel of large number of people to mainland to shop for the recent festive occasions,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Most UTs have imposed movement restrictions, including night curfew.

“Chandigarh informed that they are conducting door-to-door counselling for increasing vaccination. 90% of the patients are in home isolation who are being monitored by mobile teams,” the statement said.

UT of Delhi discussed shortage of beds and the present efforts to augment this through Central Government infrastructure and support through the DRDO’s recently operationalised COVID Hospital.

“After a detailed discussion of various issues of COVID management, the Union Home Secretary urged constant vigilance regarding the evolving situation of COVID in the UTs. Strict enforcement of COVID appropriate behaviour was stressed along with stricter enforcement of movement restrictions and prohibition of large gatherings, regulated timings for markets etc. He advised the UTs to increase RT-PCR testing along with use of RAT for screening in clusters. Urgent review of clinical management was strongly recommended along with ramping up testing and hospital infrastructure,” the statement said.

Dr. Paul pointed out the criticality of next three weeks for COVID response measures. “The UT administrators were advised to plan in advance for three weeks. A survey to promptly identify the COVID positive people should be taken up, he stated. He stressed on planning the minutest details of COVID management. For UT of Ladakh, he recommended regulation of the incoming labourers and supervised containment. Islands can be made large containment zones, he suggested,” the Ministry said.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 9:25:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-centre-asks-uts-to-ramp-up-testing-augment-lab-hospital-infrastructure/article34367488.ece

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