SRINAGAR: The Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, while chairing a high-level meeting to review the public health response to COVID-19 asked all the States and Union Territories to closely monitor the trajectory of COVID infections to prevent a surge in cases and assiduously expedite vaccination of priority groups in accordance to the guidelines in this regard.
Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam along with Chief Secretaries of Chattishgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, and West Bengal participated in the meeting.
While reviewing the situation, the Cabinet Secretary informed that India is witnessing a resurgence of COVID cases with an average of 14,300 daily cases, marking an approximate 21% week-on-week increase in the new cases.
The Cabinet Secretary urged the States/UTs to ensure a multi-sectoral response in addition to swift vaccination drives to prevent subsequent waves of infection especially in the wake of the emergence of mutant strains of the virus. The next phase of the vaccination will start from March 1, 2021 to cover the third prioritized age group of persons above the age of 60 years and persons with co-morbidities in the age group of 45-59 years.
He advised the States/UTs to ardently promote COVID appropriate behaviour, improve the rate of testing especially in districts that are falling short of target quotas, increase the share of RTPCR tests viz-a-viz RATs, monitor mutant strain for early hotspot identification, adopt refocused & stringent containment strategies and undertake priority vaccination with provisions of geographically targeted vaccination in clusters witnessing a surge in COVID cases.
The Chief Secretary, J&K, informed that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir is conducting mandatory universal tests on all incoming travellers coming via roadways, railways, and airways. He informed that J&K saw a 40% surge in weekly cases with travellers contributing to 2/3rd of all the positive cases, adding that in Srinagar district alone 50% of recorded positive cases were travellers.
He said that through concerted efforts the Government is consistently monitoring the COVID trajectory among its local population with a special focus on districts with an increased tourist footfall.
Regarding vaccination drives, it was informed that in J&K, 67% of healthcare workers and 59% of frontline workers have been vaccinated during the initial stages of the vaccine roll-out and arrangements are in place to incorporate the third prioritized group in the upcoming days.
Currently, the bed occupancy in the designated COVID hospitals is less than 4% with approximately 100 patients admitted to health care institutes that have been prepped to accommodate 3000 patients. “In the given scenario, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is by and large comfortable and under control”, the Chief Secretary maintained.