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  India   All India  25 Mar 2020  States should earmark hospitals to deal with Covid-19: Cabinet secretary

States should earmark hospitals to deal with Covid-19: Cabinet secretary

Published : Mar 25, 2020, 1:46 pm IST
Updated : Mar 25, 2020, 1:47 pm IST

1,87,904 are under surveillance, 35,073 have completed 28-day observation period'

Representational image (PTI)
 Representational image (PTI)

New Delhi: Union Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday asked state governments to immediately identify and earmark hospitals to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter to the chief secretaries of the states, Mr Gauba also underlined that it is absolutely essential that surveillance and contact tracing of all positive cases are taken up and no suspected or high-risk person is left out.

States have been told to equip the medical institutes with PPEs, ventilators and other essential equipment etc and ensure that essential services and supplies remain open.

“All states should immediately identify and earmark hospitals dedicated for management of Covid-19 cases and ensure that they are in a state of full readiness to deal with the situation in the event of a further spike in the number of confirmed cases. At this juncture we need to further enhance our efforts in respect of surveillance and contact tracing of positive cases in order to break the chain of transmission," he said.

The Cabinet secretary requested the chief secretaries to suitably supplement the state and district surveillance teams with the ‘Rapid Response Teams’.

States have been asked to mobilize the civil machinery under DMs to supplement surveillance and strengthen rapid response teams at the field level and to ensure that no suspect and a high-risk person is left during the surveillance.

“The Centre is monitoring the progress with respect to states having earmarked hospitals dedicated to Covid-19 cases. Gujarat, Assam, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, MP and J&K are setting up hospitals dedicated for the management of Covid-19,” health ministry officials said.

A report by Brooking’s India, on India’s health infrastructure equipped to handle an epidemic, said that availability of beds in government hospitals is abysmally low and an epidemic like coronavirus can very quickly complicate the problem even further.

Experts have warned against community spread of the disease which will lead to a rapid and huge increase in demand for health facilities. The report co-authored by a former member of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister Shamika Ravi pointed out that there are a total 7,13,986 government hospital beds available in India and this amounts to 0.55 beds per 1,000 population.

Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan reviewed the status of containment and management of Covid-19 in the country and emphasised on the quality and sturdiness of community surveillance and contact tracing in tackling the disease.

As on date, cumulatively 1,87,904 persons are under surveillance, and around 35,073 have completed the 28-day observation period. Dr Vardhan also visited the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) control room and the testing laboratories.

Meanwhile, ICMR cleared one more company to make the testing kit. In addition, 118 laboratories have been included in the ICMR network of Covid-19 testing with a capacity to test 12,000 samples per day. In the last five days, on average 1,338 samples have been tested per day.

Furthermore, 22 private lab chains have registered with ICMR (till 24th March 2020) for Covid-19 testing. They have 15,500 collection centres nationwide.

Also, out of 15 kit manufacturers, NIV Pune has approved three PCR based kits and 1 antibody detection kit. One of these is an Indian manufacturer.

Tags: cabinet secretary, rajiv gauba, coronavirus (covid-19)