Covid moving towards Eastern India as Bengal, Odisha see surge
NEW DELHI, May 7: India's second wave of Covid-19, which started hitting the nation from the west, with Maharashtra seeing a huge spike in the number of infections, is moving towards Eastern India as the states are witnessing record daily cases and deaths.
The Central Government officials, including Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Member (Health), NITI Aayog Dr Vinod K Paul, chaired a high-level meeting today with the Eastern states -- Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Five critical areas of action were discussed for addressing the needs and challenges of the recent phase of Covid-19 in these states, which has led to an unprecedented surge in the number of daily cases and increased mortality, the statement added.
States are required to undertake focussed efforts in these districts regarding testing; home isolation of the infected people; measures to prevent crowding and intermingling of people to curb the spread of infection; in addition to other containment activities.
During the periods of stringent restricted movement in the states, the time could be utilized for augmentation of hospital infrastructure including construction of makeshift hospitals; attaching hotels to hospitals; and field hospitals.
The states were advised to ensure that performance-linked payments of the Community Health Officers (CHOs) at the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres
(HWCs) and the incentives to the ANMs and other health workers are paid timely.
In addition, a slew of decisions have been taken by the government whereby the services of final year MBBS students; those students that are yet to take the NEET examination (which has been postponed); final year nursing students; and internees can be utilised for Covid-19 related healthcare work.
It was pointed out to the states that last year an advisory was shared with them enlisting the broad norms of oxygen usage in the clinical management of hospitalised Covid-19 patients. This was subject to state-wise customisation.
The oxygen requirement for the different categories of patients receiving clinical care in hospitals was also detailed in the advisory. An oxygen audit is also required to be done by all the states.
Pointing that barring a few states, others have not undertaken the exercise, the states were reminded to undertake this process.
With the aim of having one PSA plant in every district, 1000 PSA plants are being planned across the country. The states were advised to identify the sites for installation of the PSA plants. The Health Ministry, DRDO and CSIR will support the State efforts in this direction.
It was pointed out to the states that as part of the Liberalised Pricing & Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy Phase-3, every month 50% of the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) cleared vaccine doses of every manufacturer would be available for direct procurement by the State Govts & Private Hospitals.
States were advised to clear the payment of the manufactures so that the vaccine consignments could be delivered to the states in a timely manner for Phase-3 of the nationwide vaccination drive.
Government of India would continue to procure its share of 50% of the monthly CDL cleared vaccines and would continue to make it available to the State Govts totally free of cost as was being done earlier. It was pointed to the states that they should not lose sight of those who are to get the second dose of COVID vaccine.
Of the supply of vaccines to the states, it was pointed out that 70% ought to be allocated to meet the requirement of second dose, while 30% ought to be reserved for the first dose.
Dr VK Paul stressed for states to ramp up the hospital and clinical management capacities including effective operation of ambulances, enhance testing in districts witnessing higher positivity than the national average, and take timely decisions to augment HR under the new enabling provisions of the Union Government. -NDTV