There is still a need to be vigilant and not lower the guard even though the active cases of COVID-19 in most of the states and the positivity rate have shown a fall in the last two weeks, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in an interaction with five eastern states on Saturday.
State health ministers, principal secretaries/additional chief secretaries and information commissioners of Odisha, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal participated in the meeting, according to an official release.
Mr Mandaviya urged them to monitor the case positivity rate on a daily basis and increase the RT-PCR testing rate as most of the states exhibited a lower share of such tests.
“While the active cases in most of the states and the positivity rate have shown a fall in the last two weeks, we still need to be vigilant and not lower our guard,” he stated.
The states were also advised to keep a close watch on the number of hospitalisations and deaths.
“It is important to analyse at the state level the proportion of vaccinated and unvaccinated of the hospitalised cases, the deaths and those on ventilators and oxygen support,” he advised them.
Mr Mandaviya said that irrespective of the COVID variants, ‘test-track-treat-vaccinate and adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour’ continue to remain the tested strategy for COVID-19 management.
He reiterated his advice for all states to fully and effectively utilise the ECRP-II funds for strengthening the existing healthcare infrastructure and create new as per requirement.
As the located funds under ECRP-II shall lapse on March 31, 2022, states were requested to review the progress on a regular basis, as this healthcare infrastructure will not only be utilised during the present pandemic, but will serve the people in the future too.
He reminded them to complete installation and commissioning of the PSA plants, LMO storage tanks and MGPS expeditiously.
Noting that vaccination is a critical tool for pandemic management, Mr Mandaviya advised the states to accelerate vaccination of all eligible populations, especially of the 15-17 age group and those whose second dose is due.
Highlighting the importance of teleconsultation through platforms such as eSanjeevani, he suggested establishing teleconsultation hubs in every district hospital.
He also mooted ramping up the creation of Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centers (AB-HWCs) at the earliest as it will help the masses and enable healthcare access to the remote areas of the country. These can be used not only during the ongoing pandemic but also for non-COVID healthcare, he said.
There was a comprehensive and detailed discussion on various aspects of COVID management including ramping up of hospital infrastructure; increased testing, stress on COVID-appropriate behaviour and stringent restrictive measures for breaking the chain of transmission.
The states shared their best practices at the review meeting.
Jharkhand informed about collecting data of migrant workers for vaccination. Chhattisgarh mentioned that a proper analysis of vaccinated and non-vaccinated people who tested positive is being made, while Bihar highlighted their initiative of doorstep delivery of medicines to COVID-19 positive patients in home isolation through Speed Post.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)