'States, Centre need to collaborative spirit to prevent Covid surge'

States appreciated the timely review meetings chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister and the Union Health Minister and advisories from the Union Health Ministry.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya ANI

NEW DELHI: Taking note of the rising cases of Covid globally, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said that the Centre and States need to work in "tandem" and in a "collaborative spirit" as was done during the previous surges.

Mandaviya, while chairing a virtual meeting with the health ministers of the states, Principal Secretaries, Additional Chief Secretaries and Information Commissioners, said that the country needs to be on the alert and be fully prepared for Covid management.

The meeting was held in view of the recent upsurge in cases in some countries like China, Japan, Brazil and the United States in the presence of Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar, NITI Aayog member V K Paul to review the public health preparedness for containment and management of Covid and progress of national Covid vaccination campaign.

Referring to PM Modi's message from the high-level review meeting held yesterday, Mandaviya asked to be on the alert and keep all preparedness for Covid management.

According to an official statement, states were requested to continue with a pre-emptive and proactive approach.

"Strengthen the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country. Focus is to be given to health facility-based sentinel surveillance; pan-respiratory virus surveillance; community-based surveillance; and sewage/wastewater surveillance," the minister stated in the meeting.

He also emphasized the "need to collectively reinvigorate the system and remove any sense of complacency and fatigue".

"Irrespective of the new Covid variants, 'Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour' continue to remain the tested strategy for Covid management as this would facilitate the undertaking of appropriate public health measures," the Union minister said.

States and Union Territories were also requested to expeditiously increase the rate of testing from the current rate of 79 tests per million, as of the week ending December 22.

They were further advised to increase the share of RT-PCR in tests. "Union Health Minister advised States/UTs to ramp up vaccination of all eligible populations, especially of the elderly and vulnerable population group. He cautioned against spreading of misinformation by ensuring dissemination of factually correct information in a timely manner," the statement said.

In view of the upcoming festive season, Manadaviya stressed the importance of public awareness campaigns regarding adherence to Covid's appropriate behaviour.

Mandaviya asked the State Health Ministers to personally monitor and review the preparedness of all infrastructure and ensure adequate stock of essential medicines. Notably, Union Health Ministry has already issued "Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in context of Covid" in June 2022 which calls for early detection, isolation, testing and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to detect and contain outbreaks of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

"There was a comprehensive and detailed discussion on various aspects of COVID management including ramping up of hospital infrastructure; increased testing," the statement further stated.

States appreciated the timely review meetings chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister and the Union Health Minister and advisories from the Union Health Ministry.

As per the official, appreciating the Centre for the timely response to the surge of Covid cases, the ministers of the states assured that they would work with the Centre for effective prevention and management of Covid and will also hold mock drills for the readiness of hospital infrastructure on December 27.

Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangaswamy, CM and Health Minister of Tripura Manik Saha, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha, Rajasthan Health Minister Parsadi Lal Meena, Uttarakhand Health Minister Dhan Singh Rawat were amongst other states ministers who were present in the meeting.

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