From Our Bureau                       

15th April 2020

An increase of 1,076 new cases has been reported in the last 24 hours, with a total of 11,439 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country till date. The death toll rose to 377, with 38 deaths reported during the day. As many as 1,306 persons have been cured/ discharged after recovery, according to the latest update from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Government of India is taking several steps for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19 through a collective effort with the States/UTs. These are being regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued detailed directions to all States/UTs.

With a view to managing to COVID-19, every district of the country has been divided into:

Hotspot districts, Non-Hotspot districts with reported cases, and Green zone districts. The  hotspot districts are those from where more cases are being currently reported or where the rate of growth of cases is more i.e. that doubling rate of cases is less.

The Cabinet Secretary held a high level review meeting today through a video conference with all the Chief Secretaries, Health Secretaries, DGPs, District Collectors, Municipal Commissioners, SPs, CMOs and other officials of States/UTs. In the video conference, a detailed orientation had been made on hotspots and containment strategies.

Further, a detailed discussion was held regarding large outbreak containment strategies and cluster containment strategies. These containment strategies describe how to delineate the containment zone and buffer zone. In these containment zones, except for essential services, the rest of the movement and activities will be restricted.

Cases will be actively monitored and surveyed by special teams in the Containment Zone as per sampling criteria. In these zones, the samples will be collected and tested. In addition to this, testing for any cases of ILI (Influenza like Illness) and SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Illness) with proper orientation of all health facilities will be undertaken for the buffer zones.

Special teams are to be set up to trace all contacts as well as conduct house to house surveys. These teams will include the health staff, local revenue staff, corporation staff, Red Cross, NSS, NYK and other volunteers.

Districts were also told to classify hospitals as: COVID Care Centres for mild cases or very mild cases, COVID Health Centres for clinical moderate cases requiring oxygen support and

COVID Dedicated Hospitals for severe & critical cases with ventilator support.

States & Districts have been specifically asked to focus on clinical management for positive confirmed COVID patients. In collaboration with AIIMS Call Centers, clinical management of every patient shall be monitored daily at the district level by them. Besides the pharmaceutical interventions, the Districts have been asked to promote social distancing, etiquettes of hand-washing & sanitary measures even in non-pharmaceutical interventions.

The districts which have not reported any cases yet have also been directed to work on cluster containment plans. In order to break the chain of transmission, focus needs to be on contact tracing, monitoring and clinical management. States have been asked to uniformly implement the containment plan in every district across the country.

The online training material available on the iGOT platform will support the capacity building of the staff working on COVID-19. States are asked to take its support.

The Government of India issued an Order on 14th April, 2020 that the lockdown measures stipulated in the Consolidated Guidelines of Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the country, will continue to remain in force up to 3rd May, 2020.

In pursuance of the above said order of Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs has issued consolidated revised guidelines regarding lockdown measures to be taken by Ministries/Departments of Government of India, State/Union Territory Governments for containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the country.

The guidelines also prescribe National Directives for COVID-19 management; SOPs for Social Distancing at offices, workplaces, factories and establishments; and, penalties for offences regarding violation of lockdown measures under relevant sections of Disaster Management Act 2005 and IPC 1860.

In order to mitigate hardship to the public, select additional activities would be allowed, which would come into effect from 20th April, 2020. However, these additional activities would be operationalized by States/ Union Territories (UTs)/ District Administrations based on strict compliance to the existing guidelines on lockdown measures. Before operating these relaxations, States/ UTs/ District Administrations shall ensure that all preparatory arrangements with regard to social distancing in offices, workplaces, factories and establishments, and other sectoral requirements are in place.

The consolidated revised guidelines would not apply in containment zones, as demarcated by States/ UTs/ District administrations. If any new area is included in the category of a containment zone, the activities allowed in that area till the time of its categorization as a containment zone, would be suspended, except for those activities that are specifically permitted under the guidelines of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India.

MHA has directed all the Ministries/Departments of Government of India and State Governments /Union Territory Administrations for the strict implementation of the consolidated revised guidelines. (eom)

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