Mansukh Mandaviya
Mansukh MandaviyaFile photo

Mandaviya reviews preparedness for management of COVID-19 with State Health Ministers

New Delhi, December 24, 2022

In view of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in several countries, Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reviewed the public health preparedness for the management of the pandemic and the vaccination progress with Health Ministers of all States on Friday.

“The Centre and States need to work in tandem and in a collaborative spirit as was done during the previous surges for COVID-19 prevention and management,” the Minister said at a virtual meeeting with State Health Ministers, Health Secretaries and other officials.

Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog were present at the meeting.

Chief Ministers N Rangaswamy (Puducherry) and Manik Saha (Tripura); Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor, Jammu & Kashmir; Health Ministers Parsadi Lal Meena (Rajasthan), Dhan Singh Rawat, (Uttarakhand), Keshab Mahanta, (Assam), K Sudhakar, (Karnataka), Banna Gupta, (Jharkhand), Prabhuram Choudhury, (Madhya Pradesh), S Chetan Singh Jauramajra, (Punjab), T S Singh Deo, (Chhattisgarh), Sapam Ranjan Singh, (Manipur), Anil Vij, (Haryana), Ma Subramanian, (Tamil Nadu), Vidadala Rajini, (Andhra Pradesh), Veena George, (Kerala), and Chandrima Bhattacharya, (West Bengal); and Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister (Delhi) joined the high-level review meeting.

Mandaviya advised the States to be on the alert and take all preparations for COVID19 management. States were requested to continue with a pre-emptive and proactive approach.

He urged States to strengthen the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure the timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country. Focus is to be given to health facility-based sentinel surveillance; pan-respiratory virus surveillance; community-based surveillance and sewage/wastewater surveillance.

He highlighted the “need to collectively reinvigorate the system and remove any sense of complacency and fatigue.”

Mandaviya said that irrespective of the new COVID variants, "Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate & Adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour" continue to remain the tested strategy for COVID management. This would facilitate the undertaking of appropriate public health measures, he said. States/UTs were also requested to expeditiously increase the rate of testing from the current rate of 79 tests per million, as of the week ending December 22, 2022. They were further advised to increase the share of RT-PCR in tests.

The Minister advised States/UTs to ramp up vaccination of all eligible populations, especially of the elderly and vulnerable population groups. He cautioned against spreading of misinformation by ensuring the dissemination of factually correct information in a timely manner. In view of the upcoming festive season, he stressed the importance of public awareness campaigns regarding adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour.

He requested the State Health Ministers to personally monitor and review the preparedness of all infrastructure and ensure there is adequate stock of essential medicines.

States/UTs were briefed on the global COVID-19 situation and the domestic scenario. They were reminded that Union Health Ministry has already issued “Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in context of COVID-19” in June 2022 which calls for early detection, isolation, testing and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to detect and contain outbreaks of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

The States also assured they will hold a mock drill for the readiness of hospital infrastructure on December 27.


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