Consider curbs, night curfews : Centre

To maintain preparedness amid the rising Omicron cases in India, the Modi Government on Thursday advised States to impose restrictions and undertake containment measures ahead of the festivities.
The States have been asked to put in place the local containment measures by the district and local administration when either the test positivity increases beyond 10 per cent or occupancy of oxygenated beds increases beyond 40 per cent.
The States have been advised to follow the five-fold strategy of Containment, Testing & Surveillance, Clinical Management, Covid Safe Behavior and Vaccination.
"Based on the local situation and population characteristics such as density and others and keeping in mind the higher transmissibility of Omicron, States/UTs can undertake containment measures and impose restrictions even before these thresholds are reached", the Health Ministry has said.
On containment, the States have been advised to impose night curfews and ensure strict regulation of large gatherings, especially ahead of the forthcoming festivities. The States need to keep a strict watch on the number of Delta and Omicron cases in all districts, and case positivity on a day-on-day and week-on-week basis.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reviewed the public health preparedness of the States for fighting Covid-19 and said that any restriction must be enforced for a minimum of 14 days. As syndromes of Omicron variant closely mimic common cold with a higher rate of transmissibility and doubling time, syndromic approach for Covid containment can be employed, said Bhushan.
The States have also been informed that the existing National Clinical Management Protocol remains unchanged for Omicron.
They were advised to increase bed capacity, ensure logistics like ambulances and enforce mechanism for seamless shifting of patients. "Utilise funds sanctioned under Emergency Covid Response Package (ECRP-II) to ensure that the requisite capacity of health systems is developed at/near hotspots to respond to any emergency", said the Ministry to the States.
On the front of Covid Safe Behaviour, States have been asked to ensure advance engagement and information so that there is no misinformation or panic. The States have been asked to ensure 100 per cent coverage of left out first and second dose eligible beneficiaries in an accelerated manner and give special focus to those districts where the first and second dose coverage is less than the National average.
DNA (with IANS inputs)