No room for any complacency with COVID-19: Health Ministry

Serotype-II Dengue an emerging challenge in 11 States, the Ministry says.

Updated - September 19, 2021 07:26 am IST

Published - September 18, 2021 07:54 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan during a press conference, in New Delhi. File

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan during a press conference, in New Delhi. File

The Health Ministry, on Saturday, flagged caution on the emerging challenge in 11 States across India of Serotype-II Dengue, which it said is associated with “more cases and more complications” than other forms of the disease.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan presented this information while participating in a high-level meeting with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba to review and discuss the strategy for COVID-19 management and response.

Highlighting the rise of dengue cases, Mr. Bhushan suggested that States undertake early detection of cases; operationalisation of fever helplines; ensure adequate stocking of testing kits, larvicides and medicines; deploy rapid response teams for prompt investigation; and necessary public health action such as fever survey, contact tracing and vector control.

He added that alerting blood banks for maintaining adequate stocks of blood and blood components, especially platelets, is also required. “States have been asked to also undertake IEC (information, education, communication) campaigns regarding helplines, methods of vector control, source reduction at homes, and symptoms of dengue,” he said.

Dr.V. K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and other senior officials also attended the meeting. The Cabinet Secretary, speaking about the COVID-19 situation in the country at the meeting, noted that while new cases of virus infections were coming down across India, “there is no room for complacency”. He stressed on the need to strictly enforce COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB), according to a release issued by the Central Government on Saturday.

At the meeting, drawing examples from other countries that saw multiple peaks of COVID-19, Mr. Gauba expressed concern over certain pockets in the country reporting high test positivity and advised State health administrators to undertake granular analysis of their COVID-19 trajectory, ramp up their health infrastructure, undertake stocking of essential medicines and augment human resources at the earliest, to meet any potential surge in cases.

According to the release, the Health Secretary said that, currently, 70 districts in 15 States are a cause for concern as 34 of these districts have positivity exceeding 10%, and in 36 districts, positivity is in the range of 5%-10%.

“In view of the forthcoming festival season, States were directed to ensure all necessary precautions and effective enforcement for avoidance of mass gathering and congested closed spaces,” said the release.

It added that to make all possible effort to avert any new upsurge, State authorities have been urged to focus on some key issues, including ensuring compliance of COVID-appropriate behavior and observance of COVID-safe festivities, and also implementing intensive containment and active surveillance in clusters reporting high numbers of cases, and not delay the imposition of restrictions, and accelerate speed and coverage of vaccination.

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