SRINAGAR: The Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam while taking stock of efforts in a marathon meeting toward mitigating COVID-19 threat, directed Deputy Commissioners to continue strict perimeter control and complete lockdown in red zones and containment zones to control spread of coronavirus from these areas. He maintained that stringent surveillance is to be undertaken to ensure the wearing of masks by all at public places.
The Chief Secretary complimented Deputy Commissioners and their teams under the guidance of Administrative Secretaries to have put in exemplary work in the identification of cases, containment strategies and IT-enabled transit management system which is being applauded at various national forums. “These strategies have been successful in keeping J&K safe in comparison to neighbouring states”, he added.
The Chief Secretary impressed upon Deputy Commissioners to step up monitoring and reporting of cases in the light of NHM data and take adequate precautionary measures to contain the spread at sensitive areas, besides, gearing up medical facilities for an expected surge in COVID patients.
The Chief Secretary congratulated the district administrations in conducting one of highest number of tests for early detection of COVID and ensuring second lowest fatality rate in the country. He further impressed upon Divisional Commissioners to ensure full utilisation of existing 8000 per day testing capacity through daily monitoring.
Informing the approval of ‘Rapid Antigen Detection Test’ by Indian Council of Medical Research, which is a low cost, low intensity but high sensitivity test; Chief Secretary asked DCs to augment the existing quota and rigorously test vulnerable people especially in red/ containment zones.
The Chief Secretary maintained that to ensure universal testing, the new test kits along with additional Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) will also be provided to private clinics and surgery hospitals, adding that it will check corona infections in patients undergoing treatment at these facilities.
Calling for smart and targeted testing, Chief Secretary directed utilization of data from Swasthya Nidhi survey and Arogya Setu app to identify clusters reporting symptoms similar to COVID followed by intensive testing. Srinagar and Anantnag districts were asked to expedite and complete Swasthya Nidhi surveys.
With regard to capacity enhancement of hospitals for accommodating higher numbers of symptomatic patients, it was directed that positive but asymptomatic patients be immediately shifted to COVID care centres. To further reduce fatality rate, instructions were issued to immediately hospitalise the critical and vulnerable patients including children, old aged, pregnant ladies, patients with Influenza like Illness (ILI), Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) and co-morbid conditions.
The Chief Secretary asked DCs to work out ‘Health Card’ plan wherein regular testing can be ensured in order to effectively monitor corona infection among service providers- hoteliers, shop keepers, mandi associations, grocery shops etc. “This will result in early detection of infection and will check spread of disease from their operations”, he added.
He directed DCs of Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur and Ramban under the supervision of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu to submit a proposal of installing testing booths especially for truck drivers where they can be tested and given ‘corona negative’ certificate with 10/15 days’ validity as ‘Health License’. He maintained that health license can be an effective tool to track the movement of truck drivers in cases where they turn corona positive days after exposure, besides assisting in contact tracing.
Addressing the concern of work-related fatigue in staff engaged in essential services, Chief Secretary asked DCs to rebalance and rotate the teams on shift basis. He further suggested training of additional employees and volunteers to augment existing availability.
Health Department was asked to promote good habits in people by undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities regarding ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ in the times of COVID-19. Urban Development and Rural Development departments were asked to undertake mass sensitization programmes by engaging ward level and panchayat level committees in surveillance, mask regulation and awareness generation activities. It was impressed upon the departments to issue joint guidelines on COVID mitigation plans and activities.
Disaster Management Department was directed to simultaneously book the expenditure being incurred on COVID mitigation efforts to prevent over-evaluation of funds.
Administrative Secretaries of departments of Health & Medical Education, Housing & Urban Development, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj and Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM) participated in the meeting.
Divisional Commissioners of Jammu, Kashmir and all Deputy Commissioners attended the meeting through video conference.