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breaking news Center asks states ahead of holiday season


“In view of the upcoming holiday season and New Year celebrations, it is necessary to put in place the required public health measures and other arrangements to minimize the risk of increased disease transmission by maintaining and reinforcing the focus on vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behavior i.e. mask use, hand and respiratory hygiene and physical distancing “said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

Ahead of the holiday season, the Center on Friday asked states and union territories to take steps to avoid overcrowding and provide adequate ventilation for indoor gatherings and the wearing of masks in crowded places.

In a letter to states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan insisted on monitoring and reporting cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) in all health facilities on a regular basis to detect the beginning upward trend of cases.

Those cases can also be tested for COVID-19, Bhushan said.

Ensure higher sample sizes for whole genome sequencing among COVID-19 positive samples in the community to enable rapid detection of new variants, if any, in the country, he wrote.

“In view of the upcoming holiday season and New Year celebrations, it is necessary to put in place the required public health measures and other arrangements to minimize the risk of increased disease transmission by maintaining and reinforcing the focus on vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behavior i.e. mask use, hand and respiratory hygiene and physical distancing “, did he declare.

Bhushan called on states to ensure adequate testing in all districts, maintain the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen testing, and take stock of existing hospital capacity in terms of bed availability, logistical requirements as well as the need for reorientation of health workers. in the clinical management of COVID-19 to remain prepared for any increase in cases. This can be tested by performing “dry runs” in hospitals, he said.

“COVID-19 vaccination efforts should be enhanced by raising awareness in the community. All states and UTs should pay particular attention to increasing ‘precautionary dose’ coverage.”

“In terms of preparing for the upcoming festivities, it is essential that all measures are put in place with relevant stakeholders such as event organisers, business owners, market associations etc. to avoid the overcrowding, ensuring adequate ventilation, especially in indoor environments, wearing masks in those places where crowds gather,” he said in the letter.

Over the past few weeks, COVID-19 cases across the world have recorded an increasing trajectory. India, however, continues to show a sustained decreasing trajectory of cases for the past few months and currently an average of 153 new cases are being reported daily across the country, the letter said.

Bhushan also insisted on effective compliance with the detailed operational guidelines for the revised Covid-19 surveillance strategy as shared by the Union Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is considering reintroducing mandatory air suvidha forms with a negative RT-PCR test report taken 72 hours before travel or proof of full vaccination for passengers arriving from China and other countries. countries reporting high numbers of Covid cases.

A decision on this is expected to be made next week after monitoring the global situation.

(Edited by : Anouchka Sharma)


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