Coronavirus: Health Minister Vardhan reviews bed availability, isolation wards, labs

New Delhi: The Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan, said, “I applaud your efforts and diligent steps taken to manage this virus in your respective states and UTs.” He was speaking at a meeting held to review actions and preparedness for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) management, through video conference (VC), with Health Ministers, Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs, Central Ministers and representatives from the related organizations, here today. The VC saw participation from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Shipping, Bureau of Immigration (BoI) and Ministry of Tourism.

The revised travel advisory, as well as advisories about mass gatherings, were reviewed and shared with the States & UTs. In view of universal screening of all passengers being done at the airports, the states were asked to monitor the airport management in coordination with the concerned airport public health officers (APHOs) and airport managers, to ensure effective screening.

Vardhan reviewed the status of preparedness in terms of availability of beds, isolation wards and laboratory readiness for high test volumes of the states and UTs. He reiterated that it needs to be ensured that our healthcare workers are duly protected from infection while they perform their duties.

Vardhan added that in this regard a workshop cum training session was held today for healthcare workers on precautionary measures and self-protection. States & UTs were advised to conduct training workshops, which many responded, had already conducted.

It was iterated that States and UTs, through all their media platforms and communication channels, should focus on disseminating basic public health measures like washing hands, avoiding unnecessary travel, staying alert for signs and symptoms (coughing, fever and difficulty in breathing), maintaining hygiene of commonly infected surfaces like tabletops, computer and mobile screens.

States and UTs were advised to strengthen and judiciously monitor border screenings both at land border checkpoints and ports. The meeting concluded with Vardhan urging the States and UTs to involve the elected representatives, MLAs, Corporators, Mayors, Collectors and MPs, and to sensitize them on COVID-19 and basic public health measures.

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The ID Staff

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