‘Focussed containment zone’ in pipeline to curb COVID-19: Principal Secretary Health

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Oct 16: Highlighting the various measures being taken up during the Unlock phase in the State, Principal Secretary (Health) V Vumlunmang has stated that the State Government is planning to adopt a new experimental approach named "Focussed Containment Zone".
The Principal Secretary made the statement during a press conference held at Secretariat, Babupara which was also attended by top officials of Health Services.
Speaking at the occasion, Vumlunmang said that the proposed "Focussed Containment Zone" will be the newest approach in combating the COVID-19 outbreak in the State.
A thorough discussion with Deputy Commissioners in Imphal East and Imphal West, respective CMOs in this regard was held earlier and discussion with respective localities is underway, he said.
In the approach, hotspots will be identified and people residing in the said containment area will be isolated for around 10 to 14 days, he continued.
Delving further on the topic, State Surveillance Officer Dr Somorjit said the new approach will be different from the earlier approach which identified smaller areas as containment zones. The new approach to be applied at hotspots will keep residents confined in the containment areas, he said.
90 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases in the State are asymptomatic and their movement will now be  completely restricted under the new policy.
The new approach will be first applied at Thangmeiband Ward No 2 and 3 and the local MLA have also approved it, he added.
Isolation of infected people has been the main policy adopted around the world and is so in the State too, Principal Secretary (Health), Vumlunmang said.
When asked about the availability of test kits, he said that all necessary measures are in place and the State is making sure that there is no shortage of the test kits.
Most importantly, the State is conducting more tests than the National average with 90,000 tests per 1 million population.
On the basis of the protocol issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the State is allowing home isolation for asymptomatic patients from August 15 onwards and more than 1000 have endorsed the new SOP.
Following the Chief Minister's advice, medicines mainly immune boosting tablets have also been started distributing to COVID-19 patients in home isolation.
Briefing about the discharge policy, he said that the State is allowing discharge of patients if they show no symptoms after 10 days at hospitals, according to the SOP issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on September 17, said the Principal Secretary (Health)
In view of the rising number of cases, the State also instructed all hospitals including private, to make necessary arrangements to accommodate and treat COVID-19 patients.
As the State has already entered the unlock phase, more awareness programmes on COVID-19 will be held, he continued.
Saying that Jan Andolan was launched on October 8 last by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and subsequently launched in the State too by Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the Principal Secretary continued that the campaign will continue to promote ‘COVID appropriate behaviour’ in the State.
He also said that the State Government is focusing on increasing the capacity of COVID Care Centres in the State.
A new COVID-19 Care Centre has also started functioning at Khuman Lampak, he added.
Detection of COVID positive cases are increasing after the State started unlocking from prolonged lockdown, he added.
As per a report of a Central agency, the positive rate of  COVID -19 in the State is 4.5 to 4.6 percent and the mortality rate is 1.5 percent, he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Sasheekumar Mangang, Additional Director of the Health Services opined that the transmission rate of the novel disease might increase in winter. Fever and common cold are very common in the winter season and as such people should take extra care and precaution.
People should follow the COVID-19 SOPs, wear face masks, wash hand regularly or use alcohol based hand sanitisers and maintain physical distance, he said. He also maintained that the State might hit the peak of COVID transmission in December or January.