Enhance focus on effective COVID-19 testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging, says PM Narendra Modi

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Amid rising cases of coronavirus COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday emphasised the need to enhance focus on effective testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging. Addressing a COVID-19 review meet with Chief Ministers of seven states and UT, PM Modi also stated that while fighting COVID-19, “we have to also move ahead with full strength on economic front”.

PM Modi chaired a high-level virtual meeting with the Chief Ministers of seven COVID-19 high burden states and UT to review the status and preparedness of COVID-19 response and management. These states and UTs are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab.

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The PM also said that these states should assess the effectiveness of lockdowns for one or two days and consider if they hamper economic activities. “We should enhance focus on effective testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging. While fighting COVID-19, we have to also move ahead with full strength on the economic front. States should assess the effectiveness of 1 or 2-day lockdowns and consider if they hamper economic activities,” said PM Modi.

He added that “micro containment zones” should be the way forward as it will curb the infection spread and also allow activities to go on.

He also said, “Effective messaging is also necessary because most COVID-19 infections are without symptoms. In such a situation, rumours may rise. It might raise doubts in the minds of the people that testing is bad. Some people also make the mistake of underestimating the severity of the infection.”

PM Modi also said, “I have also decided on the expansion of the SDRF. Its limit will be increased from 35 to 50 per cent which will give more amount to the states.”

“There are more than 700 districts in the country but only 60 districts in 7 states are a cause of worry. I suggest CMs hold a virtual conference with people at district/block level for 7 days. We’ve to learn from the best practices from across the states,” said the PM.

He added, “It is difficult to make wearing masks a habit, but we will not be able to get the desired results if we don’t make it a part of our daily life.”

“Healthy history of the country is also an opportunity. After two days, Ayushman Bharat will complete two years. Within two years, more than 125 crore patients have received free treatment. I applaud all doctors and medical staff,” stated the PM.

More than 63 per cent of the active cases of the country are concentrated in these seven states and UT. They also account for 65.5 per cent of the total confirmed cases and 77 per cent of the total deaths.

Along with the other five states, Punjab and Delhi have reported an increase in the number of cases being reported recently. Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi are reporting high mortality with more than 2.0 per cent Case Fatality Rate (CFR). Other than Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, their positivity rate is observed to be above the national average of 8.52 per cent.

The Centre has been leading the fight against COVID in the country in effective collaboration and close coordination with the state and UT governments. The Union Government is supporting them to ramp up the healthcare and medical infrastructure.

The clinical management capacities of the doctors manning the ICUs have been substantially upgraded through the e-ICU teleconsultation exercise undertaken by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in collaboration with AIIMS, New Delhi. High-level review with the States/UTs has ensured adequate availability of medical oxygen in the hospitals and COVID healthcare facilities.

The Centre is also regularly deputing multi-disciplinary teams to States/UTs to support and handhold them in matters of containment, surveillance, testing and efficient clinical management of the positive cases. The Central teams also guide the local authorities in effectively managing the challenges related to timely diagnosis and needed to follow up.

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