Centre reviews Covid-19 defences as confirmed cases rise to 1,25,101
23 May 2020
The central government today carried out a high-level review of the steps to counter the threat of Covid-19 pandemic undermining the country’s health infrastructure as the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India rose to 1,25,101 on Saturday with 6,654 fresh cases reported in the 24 hours ended 8 pm.
A total of 51,783 coronavirus affected people have been cured, including 3,250 patients found cured in the last 24 hours, taking the total recovery rate to 41.39 per cent, a health ministry release said.
Health secretary Preeti Sudan and officer on special duty Rajesh Bhushan of the ministry of health and family welfare along with senior officials of the ministry held a high level review meeting (through video conference) with the health secretaries, urban development secretaries, municipal commissioners, mission directors (NHM) and other officials from the 11 municipal areas which have high case load of Covid-19, in New Delhi today.
These 11 municipal areas are from the Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and account for 70 per cent of India's active case load.
The meeting noted that major challenge lies in those corporations having shorter doubling time, higher mortality rate and a higher confirmation rate than the national average. They were briefed about the factors to be considered while mapping the containment and buffer zones; the activities mandated in containment zone like perimeter control, active search for cases through house to house surveillance, contact tracing, testing protocol, clinical management of the active cases; surveillance activities in the buffer zone like monitoring of SARI/ILI cases, ensuring social distancing, promoting hand hygiene etc. Maintaining high vigilance and monitoring in areas of old cities, urban slums and other high density pockets along with the camps/clusters for migrant workers are important steps in Covid-19 management in the urban areas.
It was pointed out that the focus needs to be on prevention through active screening of high risk and vulnerable population and groups, and effective and sturdy clinical management of the admitted cases to reduce fatality rate. While many have operationalised 24x7 state control rooms, others could also follow the lead and start such units which shall not only provide assistance to the people for various facilities/services regarding Covid-19 management, but also have a panel of domain experts and doctors to provide round the clock support and mentoring for clinical issues which shall effectively contribute to reducing fatality rate.
It was pointed out that testing needs to stepped up in some municipal areas to ensure early detection of cases, timely clinical management and a reduction in fatality rate. Urban bodies were also told to ramp up health infrastructure to ensure preparedness for the next two months with special focus on isolation beds with oxygen, ventilators and ICU beds. Other issues that need focused attention include active coordination with government and private labs to address delays in sample collection, partnership with private hospitals to augment the health/bed capacity, waste disposal and disinfection of Covid positive areas, management of camps for migrant labourers, creating awareness regarding issues such as stigmatisation of patients and medical professionals in local languages, actively involving community leaders, youth groups, NGOs and SHGs in accompanying surveillance teams for awareness and confidence building measures.
The measures taken and best practices followed by the municipal corporations for the management of Covid-19 cases were also discussed.
Mumbai Municipal Commissioner briefed about establishing close cooperation between private hospitals and municipal authorities to pool the health infrastructure like ICU beds/oxygen beds etc. They shall also soon make public the online portal displaying the bed availability with unique ID numbers for each bed, and also set up a GPS backed online ambulance tracking system.
Indore authorities have focused on contact tracing, and active house to house survey. They have formed ‘gully patrolling teams’ which include community volunteers and retired government officials helping the special surveillance teams in containment zones to improve confidence building measures, active surveillance, and provisioning of essential items.