As the festive season in India begins, PM Modi, on Friday chaired a high-level meeting, reviewing Covid-19 related situations in the country. It involved discussions on the prevailing Covid-19 scenario, preparedness of the health systems to respond, availability of medical oxygen and matters relating to production, supply and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine.
Principal Secretary to the PM, Cabinet Secretary, Principal Scientific Advisor, Health Secretary, Member of NITI Aayog and other important officials were attendees in the meeting held by the PM.
According to PIB reports, the global covid numbers and how in several other countries, Covid cases have increased was also part of the agenda in the meeting. In India as well, although most states now have a lower Covid number, two states, in particular, Maharashtra and Kerela have had a consistently high number of Covid cases recorded. It was concluded that such a situation doesn’t allow for any complacency, to keep a check on Covid cases.
Although the weekly positivity rate has been less than 3% for the 10th consecutive week, the Prime Minister was informed about a few geographies and districts with a high test positivity rate.
The PM mentioned to the attendees about maintaining consistent genome sequencing to keep a check on the emergence of new variants. The officers present informed that INSACOG now consists of 28 labs distributed across the country. The lab network is also linked with a hospital network for clinical correlation. Sewage sampling is also being done for genomic surveillance. States have also been asked to share SARS CoV2 positive samples with the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a forum set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to study and monitor genome sequencing and virus variation of circulating strains of COVID-19 in India.
A review of augmentation of bed capacity for pediatric care and augmentation of facilities supported under ‘COVID Emergency Response Package II’, was also conducted. In preparation for another wave, states have been asked to change primary care and block-level health infrastructure towards managing the situation in the rural areas. Additionally, instructions to maintain a buffer stock of drugs used for Covid-19, Mucormycosis, MIS-C at the district level, has also been given to the States.
Beyond that, there has been an increase in ICU beds oxygen supply, isolation beds, and pediatric ventilators, and the government continues to work on increasing such infrastructure further.
PM also emphasised increasing India’s testing capabilities, which has also been worked on, with the government pushing to open RT-PCR labs in 433 districts, in public health facilities.
Prime Minister Modi also asked the attendee to look at the oxygen ecosystem and make it ready and capable to handle what may come. He asked to ensure increased oxygen availability, including oxygen concentrators, cylinders and PSA plants.
Apart from a review of the vaccine pipeline and an update on the increased supply of vaccines. It was also noted the vaccination drive has achieved few major goals, about 58% of the adult population in the country have received the 1st dose of the vaccine, while 18% have been given the 2nd dose.