States need to stay on alert
“Well coordinated actions between concerned Departments, States and central ministries, corporation and agencies etc. for contact tracing, community surveillance, hospital management, developing and managing isolation wards, awareness campaign are the key focus areas which need attention at this hour. We have to work together to fight the threat a posed by COVID-19”. This was stated by Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan as he chaired a review and coordination meeting with all the senior officials from Government of Delhi in presence of Sh. Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor, Government of NCT of Delhi, Sh. Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Government of NCT of Delhi and Dr. Satyendra Jain, Health Minister of Delhi.
Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India apprised regarding the current evolving scenario globally and nationally. She informed that the situation is under control but we are on alert and adequate arrangements have been made for management of COVID-19. She added that regular meeting have been held with various States/UTs regularly on the action taken and preparedness of COVID-19.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that we need to focus on the inter-sectoral coordination with the central ministries/departments. He added that States/UTs need to strengthen their preparedness and review actions on a daily basis. States/UTs need to be more responsive and have to put their best efforts by taking appropriate actions and preparedness for COVID-19. He further stated that need of this hour is to adopt a more strategic approach like cluster containment strategy, making the District Collectors more accountable, contact tracing & strengthening state and district surveillance teams to avoid widespread community transmission and also breaking the transmission, if found.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also advised that States need to stay on alert and identify isolation facilities to accommodate large number of confirmed/suspected cases in each district as well as their logistics requirements.
He also urged that States/UTs need to adhere to core capacities for disease preparedness and response like Surveillance, Laboratory Diagnosis, Hospital Preparedness, Logistic Management, Capacity Building and Risk Communication. He urged that the hospitals need to make proper arrangements for the segregation of the symptomatic patients and regular patients while visiting the health facility. He stated that apart from ensuring safety of patients visiting the hospitals, hospitals should also ensure the safety of their health workers and doctors. He advised Delhi Government to enhance community awareness by utilizing print, electronic and social media in local languages including utilizing local cable TV channels, audio announcements and FM radio etc. He also added that Delhi attracts a lot of tourists hence, appropriate IEC should be done among both domestic and international travellers who are visiting Delhi. Awareness campaign especially in the cluster such as slums in local language through miking etc. needs to be undertaken.
Sh. Anil Baijal also stated that sensitization of people in local languages, developing testing facilities closer to community, development of isolation/quarantine facility and training of health workers should be the four key pillars and focus areas for the State Government.
Sh. Arvind Kejriwal informed that a special task force is already in place and training of the same has been conducted. He added that Government of Delhi will work in coordination with the Central Health Ministry and adhere to the guidance and directions from Central government on strengthening the measures in case of eventualities due to COVID-19.
Dr. Balram Bhargava, Secretary, ICMR, Sh. Sanjeeva Kumar, Spl. Secretary (Health), Dr. Rajeev Garg, DGHS, Sh. Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Mayors of Municipal Corporations in Delhi, Commissioners of SDMC, EDMC and NDMC, Medical Superintendents of both Central and State Government hospitals, and other senior officials of Government of NCT of Delhi and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare were also present during the meeting.