Intensive containment in high-surge zones, PM Modi reviews preparedness

Wants teen vax drive stepped up | Case positivity rate 10.21%

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9

With India recording a 678 per cent rise in active Covid-19 cases over the last 13 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday held a high-level review of the response preparedness with top officials and asked for urgent readiness of district-level medical infrastructure to tackle the surge.

He was also briefed on the predictive peak scenarios of the surge, with elections to five states, UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, set to begin from February 10.

A health worker with a patient at a Covid care centre in CWG village, New Delhi, on Sunday. PTI

Between December 27, 2021, and today, active Covid cases (which need hospital or home care) have soared from 75,841 to 5,90,611, a jump of 678 per cent that can overwhelm the health systems rapidly. Daily cases also crossed 1.50 lakh today settling at 1,59,632 even as the daily positivity rate, a marker of infection spread, reached 10.21 per cent as against 0.87 per cent two weeks ago.

PM chairs a review meeting on Covid in New Delhi. PTI

The WHO, meanwhile, termed as “astonishing” the ongoing Covid surge worldwide with 10 million cases reported in a week and urged nations to ensure proper masking up of citizens.

PM Modi called for intensive containment and surveillance in clusters reporting higher cases during a review meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, NITI Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Home Secretary AK Bhalla, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and ICMR chief Balram Bhargava.

He said technical support should be provided to states reporting higher cases and effective use of masks and physical distancing measures as a new normal must be ensured. The PM insisted on effective implementation of home isolation for mild and asymptomatic cases to offset the burden on hospitals, and said a meeting with state CMs would be held soon to discuss state-specific scenarios.

Mandaviya will hold a review meet with state health ministers tomorrow. Highlighting the need for continuity of non-Covid health services while managing Covid cases, the PM said adequate health infrastructure at the district level must be ensured and vaccine drive for adolescents must be accelerated.

“There is need for continuous scientific research in testing, vaccines and pharmacological interventions, including genome sequencing, given that the virus is evolving continuously,” said the Prime Minister, asking for telemedicine to be used actively.

The PM witnessed a presentation on the surge and districts of concern, various predictive peak scenarios and state utilisation under the Emergency Covid Response Package (ECRP-II) meant to help create Covid- specific infrastructure, including oxygen equipment.

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PM hailed the rapid ongoing vaccination of adolescents with 31% children aged 15-18 years having been administered the first dose in 7 days since the drive began on January 3.

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