Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare held a high level meeting with Shri Jai Pratap Singh, Health Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Naba Kishore Das, Health Minister of Odisha in presence of Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (HFW) and senior officials from both Centre and the States to review the situation, actions being taken and preparedness for management of COVID-19 in the three States.
At the outset, Dr. Harsh Vardhan appreciated the dedication of all the Sattes in combating COVID-19 pandemic in the country. He stated that as on 7th May, 2020, a total of 52,952 cases have been reported from the country in which 15,266 persons have been cured and 1,783 deaths had occurred. In the last 24 hours, 3561 new confirmed cases have been added and 1084 patients were found cured. He added that in comparison to other countries, India is in a better condition as the fatality rate is 3.3% and recovery rate is 28.83%. He also added that there are 4.8% patients in ICU, 1.1% on ventilators and 3.3% on oxygen support of the active cases. Dr. Harsh Vardhan also said, “The testing capacity has increased in the country and it is 95,000 tests per day with 327 Government laboratories and 118 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 13,57,442 tests have been done so far for COVID-19.”
He also informed that as on date, there are 180 districts with no new cases in less than 7 days, 180 districts with no new cases in 7-13 days, 164 districts which have not had any new case in 14-20 days and 136 districts with no new cases since the last 21-28 days. There are 13 States/UTs viz. A&N Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir UT, Kerala, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Odisha who had not reported any case in the last 24 hrs. While Daman & Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have not reported a single case till date, Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
The Union Minister stated that there are 130 hotspot districts, 284 non-hotspot districts and 319 non-affected districts in the country. He further added that as of now 821 dedicated COVID hospitals with 1,50,059 beds (Isolation beds- 1, 32,219 and ICU beds- 17,840) and 1,898 dedicated COVID Health Centres with 1,19,109 beds (Isolation beds- 1, 09,286 and ICU beds- 9,823) along with 7,569 quarantine centres are now available to combat COVID-19 in the country.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also informed that 29.06 lakh Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) and 62.77 lakh N-95 masks have been distributed among the States/UTs/Central Institutions.
After a brief presentation on the status of COVID-19 cases in the States and its management in the States, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated, “States need to focus on more effective surveillance, contact tracing and early diagnosis to keep low fatality rate”. He said, “Surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) / Influenza Like Illness (ILI) should be intensified in unaffected districts and districts which have not reported cases from last 14 days and more through the IDSP network in collaboration with Medical College Hospitals. Such measures will help to indicate the presence of any possible hidden infection at an early stage thus helping in its timely containment”, he added.
Dr Harsh Vardhan stressed that States need to ensure adoption of Infection, Prevention & Control (IPC) practices in all healthcare settings to avoid/reduce chances of infections to health care workers. States were advised to ensure that all Central Guidelines/Advisories are implemented till the field level in earnest.” The States informed of the measures taken to partner with private hospitals for COVID-19 management, viz. Uttar Pradesh stated that they have identified private hospitals as dedicated COVID health facilities on payment basis. He appreciated the best practices shared by the District Magistrates/Commissioners and other officials of various districts like “Gram Nigrani Samitis/ Mohalla Nigrani Samitis” developed in Uttar Pradesh for more effective surveillance and search of cases, etc.
In view of the surge in number of migrant labour expected to reach the States in the days to come, Dr. Harsh Vardhan exhorted the States that robust strategy and mechanism need to be drawn up for their testing, quarantine, and treatment of the positive cases. Some States shall also see immigrants from abroad too. An effective strategy also needs to be put in place for their testing, institutional quarantine and treatment, if needed.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also suggested that along with the surveillance teams in the containment areas, community volunteers may also be identified at the ward-level to spread awareness about the preventive measures like hand washing, physical distancing etc., and who can also play an effective role in removing the stigma prevailing in the society.
It was reiterated to the States that attention needs to be accorded to provisioning of non-COVID essential health services regarding immunisation drives, TB case finding and treatment, providing blood transfusion for dialysis patients, treatment of cancer patients, ANC of pregnant women, etc. It was also stated that the Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres could be used for screening for hypertension, diabetes and three types of cancers. Telemedicine and tele-counselling could be used for a larger population in view of the lockdown. States have been advised to keep adequate stock of essential medicines. States were also informed that helpline number 104 in addition to 1075 can be used for Grievance Redressal for non-COVID essential services, and for informing regarding availability of these services etc. Adequate measures for prevention of vector diseases also needs to be taken, they were advised.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also spoke to the DMs of Agra, Kanpur, Merut, Sahranpur, Gautum Buddh Nagar, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, and Baleswar, Ganjam and Jajpur in Odisha and discussed in detail the status and management of COVID-19 in the districts.
Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), Shri Rajesh Bhushan, OSD (HFW), Ms. Vandana Gurnani, AS & MD (NHM), Dr. Manohar Agnani, Joint Secretary (MoHFW), Dr. S.K. Singh, Director, NCDC, Shri Amit Mohan Prasad, Principal Secretary (Health), Uttar Pradesh, Shri Nikunj Dhal, Principal Secretary (Health), Odisha, Dr. Soumitra Mohan, Mission Director, NHM, West Bengal participated in the meeting.