Centre asks Union territories to ramp up testing; augment lab, hospital infrastructure | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, who reviewed the Covid situation in Union territories (UT) along with health secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday, has stressed upon strict enforcement of Covid-appropriate behavior with movement restrictions and prohibition of large gatherings, regulated timings for markets etc in view of the latest surge in cases.
NITI Aayog member V K Paul, who participated in the video-conference along with ICMR chief Balram Bhargava, pointed to the criticality of next three weeks in responding to the latest Covid wave, even as Bhalla advised the UT governments to increase RT-PCR testing along with use of rapid antigen test for screening in clusters. Urgent review of clinical management was strongly recommended along with ramping up testing and hospital infrastructure.
All the UT administrators briefed the meeting on their respective Covid management strategies and the current trajectory of total new Covid cases, weekly tests, weekly positivity rate, weekly new Covid cases, weekly number of deaths and status/proportion of RT-PCR tests and rapid antigen tests. Bhalla pointed out said that as against 20,000 daily cases reported on January 1, 2021, India had almost 10 times more cases (more than 2,00,000 cases) since April 15, 2021. In last 11 days, new cases have almost doubled from 1.31 lakh reported on April 9 to 2.73 lakh reported on April 20.
Delhi, which has been recording close to 25,000 new cases in the past few days, brought up the shortage of beds and efforts to augment these through Central government infrastructure and DRDO’s recently-operationalised Covid hospital. Delhi government expressed gratitude for the timely support of Union government for augmenting their hospital beds capacity, both during last year and this year, the health ministry said in a release.
Delhi government’s efforts to ramp up testing and reduce the turnaround time for the test results were also outlined.
Ladakh, J&K, and Lakshadweep pointed to the rise in cases due to large number of inbound travelers. Lakshadweep has seen a sudden spike after April 14, 2021 primarily due to travel of large number of people to the mainland to shop for the recent festive occasions.
Chandigarh informed that they are conducting door to door counselling for increasing vaccination. 90% of the patients are in home isolation who are being monitored by mobile teams.
Most UTs have currently imposed movement restrictions, including night curfew, restriction of intra-island movement in the island UTs.
Expressing concern over the worrying scenario, Dr V K Paul advised UT administrators to plan for the next three weeks. A survey to promptly identify the Covid-positive people should be taken up, he said. For UT of Ladakh, he recommended regulation of the incoming labourers and supervised containment. Islands can be made large containment zones, he suggested.
The home secretary assured continued and full support of Government of India for all efforts of UTs in containment and management of Covid-19.

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