In wake of rising COVID-19 cases in several states, Centre has rushed high-level multi-disciplinary teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
As per the official release, these teams will help them in public health measures for targeted COVID response and management. These 3-member multidisciplinary teams are headed by Joint Secretary level officers in the Health Ministry and will work closely with the States/UT administration and investigate reasons behind recent surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
This comes after the Centre wrote to states over the critical review of the emerging situation and gains made so far in COVID management are not lost. The Central government wrote to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which have witnessed a sudden spike in daily COVID cases, along with decreasing proportion of RT-PCR tests and a rise in positivity rate in some districts.
In the letter written by the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have been asked to focus on aggressive measures to break the chain of transmission and ensure that RT-PCR testing is amplified to flush out undetected cases.
These States/UT have been advised to increase testing with the appropriate split of RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests. They are directed to ensure that all symptomatic negatives of antigen tests are compulsorily tested via RT-PCR tests. The positive persons are ordered to be promptly isolated/hospitalised, all their close contacts must be traced and tested without delay.
Centre has warned States/UTs that any laxity in implementing stringent measures to curb the spread, especially in view of the new strain of virus can worsen the situation.
The Union Health Secretary has separately requested the Chief Secretaries of these 10 States and UTs to provide time to these High-Level Central teams to debrief the respective Chief Secretaries at the conclusion of their State visits. The teams will interact with the field authorities to get a first-hand understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by them.