Tighten surveillance, ramp up testing : Mandaviya

The Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has advised States to strengthen Covid-19 surveillance system, ramp up testing and ensure readiness of hospital infrastructure on Friday.
Mandaviya chaired a meeting with all State Health Ministers to review the public health preparedness for containment and management of covid-19 and progress of National covid-19 vaccination. He has requested the State Health Ministers to personally monitor and review the preparedness of all infrastructure and ensure there is adequate stock of essential medicines.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of the recent upsurge in cases in some countries like China, Japan, Brazil and the United States.
All the State Health Ministers were briefed on the global covid-19 situation and the domestic scenario.
“Centre and States need to work in tandem and in a collaborative spirit as was done during the previous surges for covid-19 prevention and management. We requested the States to continue with a pre-emptive & proactive approach. States have been asked to strengthen the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country. Focus is to be given to health facility-based sentinel surveillance; pan-respiratory virus surveillance; community-based surveillance; and sewage/waste water surveillance." Mandaviya said.
He highlighted the need to collectively reinvigorate the system and remove any sense of complacency and fatigue.
Dr Mandaviya said that irrespective of the new covid-19 variants, ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate & adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour is a must.
States/UTs were advised to increase the rate of testing from the current rate of 79 tests per million as on 22 December. They were further advised to increase the share of RT-PCR in tests.
Besides this, States/UTs were directed to ramp up vaccination of all eligible populations, especially of the elderly and vulnerable population group. In view of the upcoming festive season, he stressed on the importance of public awareness campaigns regarding adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour.
Meanwhile, in a letter to the States, Rajesh Bhushan , Union Health Secretary has directed for Covid readiness measures for upcoming festivities. “It is essential that all measures are put in place with relevant stakeholders like events organizers, business owners, market, associations etc to avoid overcrowding, ensure adequate ventilation especially in indoor settings, weakening of masks in such places where crowds congregate," Bhushan said in a letter seen by Mint.
Bhushan said that to take the stock of existing hospital capacities in terms of bed availability, logistics, requirement, as well as orientation of the healthcare profressionals in clinical management of covid-19 to remain prepared in any surge of cases. This may be tested by conducting dry runs. Mint