Many states in India are already battling the second wave of COVID-19 after exactly 12 months since the first hit. The Union Health Ministry, in the presence of Dr VK Paul, from NITI Aayog held a meeting with higher authorities of these states, viz. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab and Bihar.
A five-fold strategy was suggested for effective containment and management of the second wave of the COVID pandemic:
Above mentioned states are strongly instructed to increase the testing manifold. Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) to be done as a screening tool in removing cluster cases from densely populated areas.
Quick tracing needs to be done of the people who were in close contact with the affected and immediate isolation of the same. An average of 30 close contacts are to be traced, tested and isolated in the first 72 hours, states were advised. Micro-containment zone approach is to be followed.
A huge emphasize was made to strengthen public and private hospital infrastructure. It was also suggested to increase the enthusiasm of health workers in order for them to work with more effectively and efficiently to reduce mortality rate and number of deaths. In this regard, states to strictly follow the Standard National Treatment Protocol for effective clinical management of the severe cases in ICUs.
In all the public places like markets, parks, malls, inter-state bus stands, railway stations etc, Covid Appropriate Behaviour has to be ensured strictly. Heavy Promotion of COVID- appropriate behaviour needs to be done through sensitization and public awareness campaigns with active participation of local community leaders, religious heads of the community and other influencers. States were also advised to impose heavy fines and encourage people for muted celebrations of festivals like Holi, Shab-e-baraat, Easter, etc. 70% of the cases can be controlled just by following CAB.
States are asked to prioritize vaccination in the areas where maximum cases are being reported. No buffer stock to be maintained in an anticipation of shortage. Unused vaccine of one district can be utilised by the high burden districts.