New Delhi: “We have to work as a unit to combat the threat due to COVID-19 in the nation and a coordinated and collective effort in a mission mode is needed,” said the Minister for Health and Family Welfare (HFW), Harsh Vardhan, as he chaired the meeting with the senior officials from the Government of Delhi, and Directors & Medical Superintendents of Government hospitals in Delhi, in the presence of Dr Satyendra Jain, Minister of Health, Delhi Government.
Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) apprised both the Ministers about the current evolving scenario, globally as well as nationally. She informed that 78 countries are affected by COVID-19 as on date. She stated that a high level of vigil and alertness is being maintained by the states and the Centre in the prevention and management of COVID-19. She briefed the officials about the revised travel advisory issued on 3 March, regarding revised travel restrictions, self-declaration and advice for avoiding non-essential travel to China, Iran, Republic of Korea, Italy and Japan and other COVID-19 affected countries.
Harsh Vardhan observed that while inter-sectoral coordination with the Central ministries/departments is being done, it was heartening to see that States/UTs are also responsive and putting their best efforts by taking appropriate actions and preparedness for COVID-19. He further added that need of this hour is to put a more strategic approach like cluster containment strategy, making the District Collectors more accountable, contact tracing & strengthening state and district surveillance teams to avoid widespread community transmission and also breaking the chain of transmission, if found.
Vardhan urged the States/UTs to strengthen core capacities for disease preparedness and response like surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, hospital preparedness, logistic management, capacity building and risk communication.
Vardhan also advised that States need to identify isolation facilities, to accommodate confirmed/suspected cases if and when identified in each district, as well as logistics requirements and to enhance community awareness through print, electronic and social media in local languages including utilizing local cable TV channels and FM radio.
Dr Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Sanjeeva Kumar, Spl. Secretary (Health), Dr Rajeev Garg, DGHS, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS (Delhi), Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary (Health), Commissioners of South, East and North Municipal Corporations (SDMC, EDMC, NDMC), officials from Kendriya Vidyalaya and other senior officials from Delhi Government were also present during the meeting.
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