New Delhi, Apr 20 (IANS): Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Tuesday reviewed the status of Covid containment and other public health measures in all the Union Territories (UTs) and assured continued and full support of the Union government.
The virtual meeting was also attended by V.K. Paul, Member (Health) NITI Aayog, and DG ICMR, Balram Bhargava. The DGs of the police in all the UTs were also present in the meeting.
The Union Health Ministry said in a statement that the Home Secretary pointed out the steep growth in the number of Covid cases all across the country.
From 20,000 cases reported on January 1, India now has 10 times more cases, reporting over 2,00,000 cases per day since April 15. In the last 11 days, new cases have almost doubled from 1.31 lakh reported on April 9 to 2.73 lakh reported on on Tuesday.
The ministry further stated that through a detailed and comprehensive presentation, the current trajectory of total new Covid cases, weekly tests, weekly positivity rate, weekly new Covid cases, weekly number of deaths and status/proportion of RT-PCR tests and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) in all the UTs were presented.
The UTs shared their present efforts for containment and management of the positive cases.
Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep pointed to the rise in cases due to large numbers of inbound travellers. Lakshadweep has seen a sudden spike in cases after April 14 primarily due to a large number of people travelling to the mainland to shop for the recent festive occasions.
Most UTs have imposed movement restrictions, including night curfew, and curbs on intra-island movement in the island UTs.
Chandigarh informed that it is conducting door-to-door counselling for increasing vaccination and 90 per cent of the patients are in home isolation who are being monitored by mobile teams.
"The UT of Delhi discussed shortage of beds and the present efforts to augment this through the Central government infrastructure and support through the DRDO's recently operationalised Covid hospital," the ministry said.
The Delhi government expressed gratitude for the timely support of the Centre for augmenting its hospital bed capacity, both during last year and this year. Efforts to ramp up testing and reduce the turnaround time for the test results were also outlined.
After a detailed discussion, the Union Home Secretary urged for constant vigilance of the evolving situation of the pandemic in the UTs.
Bhalla advised the UTs to increase RT-PCR testing along with use of RAT for screening in clusters. Urgent review of clinical management was strongly recommended along with ramping up testing and hospital infrastructure.
Expressing concern over the worrying scenario, Paul pointed out the criticality of the next three weeks for Covid response measures. The UT administrators have been advised to plan in advance for three weeks.
The Home Secretary assured continued and full support of the government of India for all the efforts of the UTs in containing and managing the Covid situation.