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Centre reviews preparedness against Covid, advises states to undertake mock drills in April

New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) Amid the sustained rise of Covid cases across the country, the Union Health Ministry on Monday chaired a high-level meeting to review preparedness status of the entire spectrum of management of the pandemic with states and UTs through video conferencing.

The meeting was chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, and NITI Aayog’s Member, Health, Dr V.K. Paul and Secretary, Health Research, Dr Rajiv Bahl were also present.

Bhushan advised tge states to undertake mock drills across all health facilities on April 10 and 11 to ensure operational readiness of hospital infrastructure, including oxygen cylinders, PSA plants, ventilators, logistics and human resources.

He informed about the status of the last mock drill which was conducted on December 27 across 21,939 facilities – 16,601 government and 5,338 private, and over 94 per cent of PSA plants and oxygen concentrators were found functional across the country while over 87 per cent of ICU beds, ventilators, O2 beds and isolation beds were found in working condition.

The Union Health Secretary referred to the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the high-level review meeting held on March 22, and advised states to be on the alert and ensure preparedness for Covid-19 management. He cautioned states/UTs against any complacency and advised them to follow up on the priorities listed in the joint advisory issued on Monday by the Departments of Health Research, and Health and Family Welfare.

He also stressed on ramping of testing with higher proportion of RT-PCR, and whole genome sequencing of positive samples. Urging everyone to follow Covid appropriate behaviour at all times, he also stressed on the need to increase administration of precaution dose among people, especially for the vulnerable population group.

The meeting also discussed about the weekly positivity in Maharashtra which has gone up to 4.58 per cent as on March 24 from 0.54 per cent in the week ending March 3. In Gujarat, it has increased to 2.17 per cent from 0.07 per cent . In Kerala, weekly positivity shot up to 4.51 per cent from 1.47 per cent. Karnataka witnessed average weekly positivity rise up to 3.05 per cent from 1.65 per cent while Delhi has seen weekly positivity rise to 4.25 per cent from 0.53 per cent.

Similarly, Himachal Pradesh witnessed weekly positivity increase to 7.48 per cent from 1.92 per cent. In Rajasthan, it has increased from 0.12 per cent to 1.62 per cent and Tamil Nadu reported an increase in weekly positivity from 0.46 per cent to 2.40 per cent in the same time period.

The Union Health Secretary said that irrespective of the new Covid variants, ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate & Adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour’ continue to remain the tested strategy for Covid management. This would facilitate undertaking of appropriate public health measures, he said.

States were also urged to ensure availability of sufficient designated beds & health workers across the states, enhance community awareness regarding disease & vaccination and regularly update COVID-19 data in Covid India Portal.