The Union health ministry has expressed concern over the decline in Covid testing and asked states to enhance the program in a strategic manner. The Centre’s advisory also recommends that UTs focus on targeted testing of vulnerable populations and those living in areas with high densities of people. However, the Centre stresses that this strategy should be undertaken in advance, and it should not be done in a panicky manner.
In addition, the Centre is calling on states to implement an action plan that involves door-to-door case searching in containment areas and to ensure that every person in a cluster is tested, particularly if they have a history of the virus. The states are also being advised to focus on low-response districts and to ensure that vaccination coverage in such areas is at 100 percent. In addition, states should exponentially increase the number of vaccinations, including the Covid vaccine, in order to protect their most vulnerable populations.
The Centre also asked states to ramp up Covid testing in a strategic manner. As with all pandemic measures, testing remains a critical component. The data on ICMR’s portal shows a drop in many states’ efforts. The goal of testing is early detection of Covid cases for rapid isolation and care. In addition, testing also enables state and district administrations to curb the disease’s spread, including contact tracing and quarantine.
The Centre has outlined a five-point strategy for states to adopt as part of their response to the COVID outbreak. The five-point strategy focuses on improving state public health readiness. The five-point strategy includes broad guidelines, including implementing night curfews, regulating large gatherings, and sending samples to INSACOG labs for sequencing. This is just the beginning of the plan to protect the population.
The new action plan calls for states to keep a watch on Omicron and Delta cases. It also urges them to keep a close eye on the doubling rate and the number of positive cases in each state. The plan also suggests conducting door-to-door case searches in the containment areas and testing vulnerable and co-morbid populations. In the case of Delta, it is essential to ensure that full screening of the entire population is carried out.
The Centre has advised that states increase their bed capacity in Omicron and ramp up Covid testing in strategic ways to protect vulnerable populations. They should also ensure that they have operational ready oxygen equipment and buffer stocks of essential medicines for emergencies. The aim is to improve public health and prevent the spread of this disease in the US. They should also make sure that they are fully prepared for the possible outcomes of this crisis.