New Delhi: The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan, chaired a review and coordination meeting with all the senior officials from the Government of Delhi in presence of Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor, Government of NCT of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi and Satyendra Jain, Health Minister of Delhi, to discuss the preparation to counter the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Vardhan said, “Well-coordinated actions between concerned Departments, States and Central Ministries, corporations and agencies for contact tracing, community surveillance, hospital management, developing and managing isolation wards, awareness campaign are the key focus areas which need attention at this hour. We have to work together to fight the threat posed by COVID-19.”
Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India apprised regarding the current evolving scenario globally and nationally. She informed that the situation is under control but we are on alert and adequate arrangements have been made for the management of COVID-19. She added that regular meetings have been held with various states/UTs regularly on the action taken and preparedness of COVID-19.
Vardhan stated that we need to focus on the inter-sectoral coordination with the central ministries/departments. He added that states/UTs need to strengthen their preparedness and review actions on a daily basis. States/UTs need to be more responsive and have to put their best efforts by taking appropriate actions and preparedness for COVID-19. He further stated that need of this hour is to adopt 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 transmission, if found.
Vardhan also informed that states need to stay on alert and identify isolation facilities to accommodate a large number of confirmed or suspected cases in each district as well as their logistics requirements.
He also urged that states and UTs need to adhere to core capacities for disease preparedness and response like surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, hospital preparedness, logistics management, capacity building and risk communication. He urged that the hospitals need to make proper arrangements for the segregation of the symptomatic patients and regular patients while visiting the health facility. He stated that apart from ensuring the safety of patients visiting the hospitals, hospitals should also ensure the safety of their health workers and doctors.
Vardhan advised Delhi Government to enhance community awareness by utilizing print, electronic and social media in local languages including utilizing local cable TV channels, audio announcements and FM radio. He also added that Delhi attracts a lot of tourists hence, appropriate IEC (information education communication) should be undertaken among both domestic and international travellers who are visiting Delhi. Awareness campaign especially in the cluster such as slums in local language through miking needs to be undertaken.
Baijal also stated that sensitization of people in local languages, developing testing facilities closer to the community, development of isolation/quarantine facility and training of health workers should be the four key pillars and focus areas for the State Government.
Kejriwal informed that a special task force is already in place and training of the same has been conducted. He added that the Government of Delhi will work in coordination with the Central Health Ministry and adhere to the guidance and directions from the Central Government on strengthening the measures in case of eventualities due to COVID-19.
Balram Bhargava, Secretary, ICMR, Sanjeeva Kumar, Special Secretary (Health), Rajeev Garg, DGHS, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, and Mayors of Municipal Corporations in Delhi, Commissioners of SDMC, EDMC and NDMC, medical superintendents of both Central and State Government hospitals, and other senior officials of Government of Delhi and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare were also present during the meeting.
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