With a surge in COVID-19 cases in Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Odisha, Health Ministry has asked these states to make renewed efforts to contain transmission of the virus. The Health ministry emphasised that the restrictions should be utilised to focus on containment, surveillance and testing in containment and buffer zones as the key strategy for early detection of cases and fatality management.
In a letter to Principal Secretaries (Health) and Secretary (Health) of these states, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal asked them to ensure that at least 80 per cent of the new cases have their close contacts traced and are in quarantine within 72 hours of case confirmation. The letter underlined that containment and buffer zones should be suitably delineated based on the mapping of cases and contacts.
It added that a list of NCC volunteers along with other workforce is available on COVID warriors’ portal which can be optimally utilised in containment and surveillance effort. The letter said, in terms of testing the state should aim to achieve a minimum of 14 tests per one lakh (140 tests per million) per day, while ensuring a positivity rate of less than 10 per cent. It said, necessarily testing all asymptomatic high-risk contacts and mild symptomatic as per ICMR protocol should be undertaken.
The states have also been asked to use the forecasting tools made available by the health ministry to ascertain the number of COVID beds required and accordingly calculate the oxygen requirement. The letter said, States should also focus on ensuring availability of non-COVID services such as immunisation, maternal and child health services including other emergency and critical care services.