New Delhi: Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level review meeting with Chief Secretaries, DG Police and Health Secretaries of all States,UTs, with focus on 11 States, UTs that have been reporting very high rise in daily cases and daily mortality because of COVID-19 in the last two weeks.
The meeting to review and discuss the COVID management and response strategy was attended by the Chief Secretaries, DGPs, and senior health professionals of all States,UTs along with the Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Union Home Secretary, Union Health Secretary, Union Secretary (I&B), DG ICMR, and Director of NCDC.
Taking note of the present situation due to the continuous deterioration of the COVID scenario over the fortnight, the Cabinet Secretary pointed out that the current COVID case growth rate of 6.8% in March 2021 has surpassed the previous record of 5.5% (June 2020).
The country also reported 5.5% growth rate in daily COVID deaths in this period. While the country was reporting about 97,000 daily new COVID cases at the peak of the pandemic in September 2020, the country has now reached the critical figure 81,000 daily new cases of COVID.
Through a detailed and comprehensive presentation, the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhusan highlighted the current trajectory of COVID in the States, UTs while Union Secretary (I&B) showcased ways of effective Behavioral Change Communication to instill COVID Appropriate Behavior among the populace.
Dr V. K. Paul emphasized on need for States to follow a protocol for sharing clinical and epidemiological data for more detailed study of mutant strain of virus for genome sequencing.
The Union Home Secretary pointed out that the 11 States and UTs that are showing a surge in daily COVID cases have not shown commensurate increase in enforcement of containment activities. He urged the Chief Secretaries and DGs (Police) of the States, UTs for taking appropriate strict action in this regard.
11 States, UTs were categorized as “States of grave concern” on account of their high and rising daily case and higher daily deaths.
These have contributed 90% of COVID cases (as on 31 March) and 90.5% of deaths (as on 31 March) in last 14 days, and have crossed/or close to crossing their early reported peaks during last year. It was pointed out the situation was particularly worrying in Maharashtra.
They were advised to take up immediate and high effective measures to ensure containment of Active Cases and Daily Deaths through adherence of the standard Clinical Management Protocol shared earlier with all States and UTs.
Another worrisome aspect pointed out was that Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities along with peri-urban areas have recorded the recent high ruses in COVID cases; the spread of infection from these areas to the rural areas with weak health infrastructure would overwhelm the local administration was also highlighted.
After detailed and comprehensive review of the measures taken by the States, UTs, the Cabinet Secretary reiterated the necessity of meticulous and hard work regarding stringent enforcement of containment and surveillance measures, in conjunction with ramping up vaccination and strict enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behavior.