Newdelhi:27/3/23:Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary chaired a high-level meeting today to review preparedness status of the entire spectrum of management of the COVID19 pandemic in view of the upsurge in cases, with States and UTs through a Video Conference today. Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Dept. of Health Research were also present in the review meeting.
Union Health Secretary referred to the message of Hon. Prime Minister from the high-level review meeting held on 22nd March, 2023 and advised States to be on the alert and ensure preparedness for COVID19 management. He cautioned States/UTs against any complacency and advised them to follow up on the priorities listed in the joint advisory issued today by Dept. of Health Research and Dept of Health and Family Welfare on 25th March, 2023. He 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.
A comprehensive presentation was made covering the global Covid-19 situation including the rising cases in India. States/UTs were briefed that India has been witnessing increase in COVID-19 cases with average daily cases rising to 966 in the week ending 23rd March, 2023 from 313 average daily cases in the week ending 3rd March, 2023; and weekly positivity going up to 1.08% during the same time.
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.
Dr V K Paul highlighted the need for increased vigil due to the prevalence of new variants and vaccine immunity across the country currently at a modest level. He urged states to increase preparedness, including higher level of RT-PCR tests and called for increasing the coverage of precaution dose among population.
Dr Rajiv Bahl encouraged states to ramp up testing, especially RT-PCR tests and maintain precaution. He also asked them to follow the advisory sent from the Union Health Ministry and increase community awareness. He also urged states showing higher number of cases to monitor cluster of new cases and severe cases.
There was comprehensive and detailed discussion on various aspects of COVID management. States appreciated the timely review meetings chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister and the Union Health Minister and advisories from the Union Health Ministry. They assured that they will work with the Centre for effective prevention and management of COVID-19. They informed that they are maintaining vigil and are reviewing the present situation. States also assured they will hold mock drill for readiness of hospital infrastructure on 10th – 11th April, 2023.
Shri Lav Agarwal, AS, Health Ministry, and other officials from the Ministry was present in the meeting. Principal Secretary (Health), Mission Director (NHM) from the States/UTs participated in the review meeting.