Chennai: With cases of Covid increasing in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and detection of Covid cluster cases at IIT Madras, health secretary J Radhakrishnan wrote a letter to the district Collectors and Commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation to ensure the enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour in crowded places. He stressed the need to increase surveillance and ensure that self health monitoring and testing is advocated.
If people with travel history develop symptoms, they and their contacts should be subjected to RT-PCR test, positive people isolated and provided treatment. Till results come tested people should be advised to self isolate and monitored. Those testing negative initially also should keep monitoring their health and in case of developing symptoms at any later point of time subject themselves to test.
The letter pointed out that follow up of insistence on mask and other Covid appropriate behaviour and also entry point thermal testing and sanitation and elements of standard operating procedures in workplaces, institutions and places of crowding should be done. He further stressed on the need to get vaccinated as about 40 lakh persons are yet to take first dose and above 1.4 crore persons have not taken the second dose while many eligible for booster have also not taken it. Thus, micro plans for improving vaccinations through a detailed street and habitation level micro plan should be made.
He further emphasized on monitoring places of crowding for follow up of Covid appropriate behaviour such as markets, theaters, malls, in public transport as people continue to flout the mask rule. Further during functions, especially involving serving of food and also in main thorough fares mask adherence has drastically gone down. Thus, increasing the publicity and awareness drive and enforcing fine for those people and in places where they regular flout the basic public health measure should be practiced. The hospital premises should adhere to infection control practices and Covid appropriate behavior without fail and keep educating and creating awareness.
The Collectors have been instructed to monitor the trajectory of cases and trends and need of hospitalization. They should also adhere to approved clinical admission and treatment protocols for handling asymptomatic, mild, moderate and severe cases. While most of the cases are BA2 subvariant cases, genomic sequencing as per guidelines issued time to time should be followed for positive cases.
The letter said that just because symptoms reported are mild, there is a tendency among public to dismiss Covid and in particular recent OMICRON variant as routine cough and cold. However, public needs to be made a aware that once the immunity level comes down and especially among those who are elderly and co-morbid, fatality can be high. Though the situation in Tamil Nadu is in control so far, it is always better to be prudent, cautious, guarded and more importantly always be well prepared and not let the guard down, the letter stated.