Entire rural population of Punjab will undergo rapid test for COVID-19: State health minister

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Chandigarh, May 19 (PTI) The entire rural population of Punjab will undergo Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) as COVID-19 positivity rate in the state's villages is rising at an alarming rate, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Wednesday.

The drive will be conducted under 'Mission Fateh 2 as part of efforts to break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus, according to an official statement.

Under 'Mission Fateh 2', additional deputy commissioners have been nominated as nodal officers of their respective districts to conduct RAT on the rural population, it said.

'Mission Fateh' symbolises the resolve of the people of Punjab to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Its first leg was launched by the state government in June last year, the statement added.

Sidhu said community health officers (CHOs) have been directed to ensure monitoring of all patients in home-isolation.

'Corona Fateh Kits', containing medicines and other supplements to deal with COVID-19, will be provided to every patient for speedy recovery by the health department, he said.

An active surveillance survey will be done in every village to detect influenza-like illnesses or severe respiratory infections by accredited social health activists (ASHA), the minister said.

Data of symptomatic patients will be shared with CHOs and senior medical officers, he added.

Sidhu further said deputy commissioners would constitute three-member committees at block levels which would depute teams for sampling at the village level.

The minister said ASHA workers will go door to door in every village to check for symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The total number of villages in Punjab is 12,729. PTI VSD IJT