New Delhi: Amid unrelenting spike in cases of coronavirus across the country, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Thursday held a video conference with chief secretaries and health secretaries of nine states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka – which have recorded the most number of positive cases and deaths due to the pandemic – directing them to ensure effective containment, contact tracing and surveillance as well as to ensure a minimum of 140 tests per million per day in all districts.
The meeting was convened at a time when coronavirus pandemic cases have refused to show a downward trend and India has recorded more than 33 lakh registered cases and over 60,000 deaths.
Maharashtra tops the list of positive cases and deaths as it has 7 lakh cases and 23,000 deaths respectively. Tamil Nadu is second with 3.9 lakh positive cases and 6,800 deaths, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
According to official sources, Gauba directed the chief secretaries to ensure that at least in 80 per cent of new cases, all close contacts should be traced and tested within 72 hours. The chief secretary also suggested ensuring a minimum of 140 tests per million per day in all districts while targeting a positivity/confirmation rate of less than 5 per cent.
The states were also asked to conduct regular monitoring of home isolation patients (tele-calling and home visits) and ensure timely admission to healthcare facility. They have been directed to put in public domain, the availability of beds and ambulances across COVID-19 facilities, while significantly reducing ambulance response time.
Monitoring of week-wise fatality rates for each health facility with particular focus on vulnerable patients having comorbidities, upgrading COVID-dedicated facilities based on case load, and keeping track of the availability and usage of necessary drugs, masks and PPE kits in all the above mentioned facilities, were some other important directives given to the states.
Chief secretaries and health secretaries of Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, along with the Union Health Secretary, Director General of ICMR and Member (Health) of Niti Aayog Dr VK Paul were also present in the meeting.