'Implement district-level action plan to curb Covid-19 spread'

Implement district-level action plan to curb Covid-19 spread

New Delhi: As India witnessing a surge in fresh Covid-19 cases due to the lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour in recent days, the Health Ministry on Tuesday asked states to ensure each district should implement a 'district action plan' to put a check on the spread of the coronavirus.

In a letter written by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to the Chief Secretaries of all states/UTs, the Centre has directed that under the action plan various measures should be taken, including mapping of cases based on surveillance and focussed testing, reviewing sub-area-wise indicators such as case positivity rates, rate of growth of cases, case fatality, and doubling rate of cases on a real-time basis.

"Each district, irrespective of whether it is seeing a surge right now or is with a current low burden, should make a district action plan with clear timelines and responsibilities. The district authorities will also need to review the geographical spread of infection on a day-to-day basis, identifying possible source of the spread," Bhushan said in his letter.

"An emergency operations centre with a team to monitor the indicators, their growth and spread 24x7 should be set up. The District Magistrate should review this two times a day and firm strategy for action," the letter said, adding that cross-discipline and dedicated area-specific teams will also need to be set up following the principles of Incident Command System.

The Centre has also asked states to ensure mortality reduction at the district-level by examining indicators such as case fatality rate and its growth, locations of hospitals, and localities where deaths are high and analysis of death to understand the system related issues of why the death happened.

Districts authorities will also need to ensure containment zones are formed in compliance with the SOPs prescribed by the Health Ministry. In the letter, the Health Secretary also stressed that the efficient implementation of 'Test Track and Treat' remains the only proven strategy to control the transmission.

"Covid-appropriate behaviour must be enforced using Police Act, or powers under DM Act as applicable. Besides elected representatives, local influencers, celebrities, religious leaders should be roped in to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour," the ministry stated.

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