NEW DELHI: It will need around two weeks of monitoring and testing of migrants reaching their homes in the hinterland to assess to what extent their largescale movement has accelerated or widened the spread of Covid-19 which might require the Centre to revisit its strategy to control the pandemic.
Tracking and assessing new cases in view of the migrant exodus and the restart of economic activities under a more relaxed lockdown regime is the focus of government’s efforts. “It will take around two weeks to get a clear picture of how much the case numbers have gone up and what is the trend or projection,” an official source said.
Officials said as cases are expected to rise, the effort will be to ensure better curing and reducing fatalities by gearing up the hospital and laboratory network. The government has stepped up surveillance and testing with over one lakh samples tested for Covid-19 on a single day on Monday, in an effort to keep a check on wider spread of the infection as workplaces, markets and other activities open up in cities and migrants start reaching their villages.
“Now, it cannot be said that we are not testing enough. We have achieved the target of over one lakh tests per day and have plans to ramp it up further. The capacity has been rapidly increased to over 385 government laboratories and 158 private ones for testing,” a senior official said.
Another official, involved with Covid-19 management at the top level in the government, said the future strategy will be aimed at hospital preparedness, targeted testing and taking care of the elderly and people with co-morbidities.
“People will have to accept behavioural change and learn to be disciplined and they need to cooperate to ensure that transmission is not on a large scale. Policy decisions have to align to reduce deaths by efficient clinical management,” he said.
While India has seen relatively lesser fatalities per million population as compared to other countries and the world average, with easing of restrictions and movement of migrant workers, it might be a challenge to cater to the demand for testing, contact tracing and hospitalisation.
So far, utilisation of dedicated Covid-19 facilities has been low with few severe cases reported from across the country. Currently, only around 2,000-2,500 of the over 1.30 lakh hospital beds earmarked for Covid-19 patients have been utilised.
Source : TOI