NEW DELHI: In an attempt to treat the rising number of Covid-19 cases with efficiency while maintaining isolation from other patients, the Centre on Tuesday asked states to expedite identification of dedicated hospitals and ensure that they are ready to deal with the increasing number of cases infected with coronavirus.
Around eight states — Gujarat, Assam, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, MP and J&K — are setting up hospitals dedicated for management of Covid-19, officials said.
Besides, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has ramped up its network of Covid-19 testing labs to 118 public laboratories with a capacity to test 12,000 samples per day. In the last five days, on an average, 1,338 samples have been tested every day.
Apart from this, 22 private lab chains have been registered with ICMR so far 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 one antibody detection kit. One of these is an Indian manufacturer, an official said.
In a letter to state chief secretaries, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday asked state governments to immediately identify and earmark hospitals to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
“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,” he said.
Stressing on the need for active contact tracing and surveillance of any positive or high risk patients, Gauba asked state health secretaries to personally monitor the situation and take necessary steps to ensure that no such case is left out. States have also been asked to further enhance surveillance and contact tracing of positive cases in order to break the chain of transmission.
The Centre has also asked states to focus their efforts and financial resources on preparing the healthcare infrastructure to deal with this challenge. This should be the top most priority at this stage, Gauba said.
States should devote adequate resources for creating dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, equipping medical institutes with personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other essential equipment etc, the letter said.
States have been asked to ensure that essential services and supplies remain open. These include hospitals, medical shops and establishments engaged in manufacturing of medicines, vaccines, sanitisers, masks and medical devices. States have been asked to mobilise the civil machinery under DMs to supplement surveillance and strengthen rapid response teams at the field level and to ensure that no suspect and high risk person is left during surveillance.
Health ministry said it has also identified local manufacturers and procurement has been initiated to ensure that there is no shortage of PPEs, N95 masks and other protective equipment needed by doctors to carry out their duties.
While appreciating the proactive steps being taken by state governments to deal with coronavirus cases, Gauba highlighted that there has been an increasing trend in such cases being reported. “You would all agree that 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 in the letter.