Centre to deploy teams in 10 states as Covid cases rise

Central teams to be deployed in 10 states as Covid cases rise

India's Covid-19 caseload has surged to 3.47 crore with 7,189 cases in 24 hours

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday said that ten multidisciplinary technical teams were deployed in 10 states including Karnataka for aiding the local administration manage the Covid-19 epidemic better as the number of such cases is on a rise in a few states besides the emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron strain.

Other states where the Central teams have been deployed are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Mizoram, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Punjab.

The central teams will be stationed for 3-5 days in each state to review the Covid logistics and contact tracing system besides assisting the state administrations on Covid testing, streamlining the administrative system for sending more samples for genome sequencing and examining the contact tracing and surveillance pattern.

Also Read | No 'Delmicron' virus yet, time to fight Omicron: Health experts 

Another key task would be to review the vaccination programme in each of these states as seven of the ten states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have poor vaccination records with nearly 60% of the adult population in the two poll-bound states remaining unvaccinated.

“A decision has been taken to deploy multi-disciplinary central teams to 10 identified states some of which are either reporting an increasing number of Omicron and Covid-19 cases or slow vaccination pace, to aid the efforts of the state and district administration for management of Covid-19,” the ministry said in official order.

Though the second wave of India’s Covid-19 epidemic is on a waning phase with 77,000 plus active cases – the lowest in 579 days – and just about 7200 new cases in the past 24 hours, at least Maharashtra and Delhi appear to be exhibiting the early signs of a new rise in Covid numbers.

Scientists and public health experts said that India would in all probability witness a new Omicron-driven wave in January.

Also Read | Bommai to decide on night curfew, other curbs in key Omicron meeting on December 26

The central teams will specifically look into contact-tracing, surveillance and containment operations, and Covid-19 testing and the processes involved in sending adequate numbers of samples from Covid-19 clusters to the designated laboratories for genome sequencing.

They will also review enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour, availability of hospital beds and other logistics like ambulances, ventilators, and medical oxygen. Earlier the ministry pointed out that some of the states didn’t even unpack the ventilator sent by the central government and purchase the consumables to make them operational.

Each team comprises four members who are either government doctors or scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research. While they would be working closely with the state officials, they would have to submit a report to the ministry on the situational assessment and remedial measures.

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