Home Ministry Reviews Covid-19 Situation in Union Territories Amid Surge in Cases

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Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Tuesday met top officers of Union Territories through video conferencing and reviewed the worrisome situation of Covid-19 and and discussed steps taken to combat the further spread of infections. India reported 2,59,170 new Covid-19 infections, taking the tally to 1,53,21,089 in the last 24 hours, while active cases crossed the 20-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated at 8am on Tuesday.

During the meeting, it was noted that there has been a steep growth in the number of Covid-19 cases all across the country. “From 20,000 cases reported on January 1, 2021, India has almost 10 times more cases (more than 2,00,000 cases) being reported daily since April 15. In last 11 days, new cases have almost doubled from 1.31 lakh reported on April 9 to 2.73 lakh reported on April 20,” as per the statement released after the meeting.

NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul, ICMR head Dr Balram Bhargava, and DGPs of Union Territories were present in the meeting.

Constant vigil, strict enforcement of Covid-appropriate behavior, movement restrictions and prohibition of large gatherings, regulated timings for markets were some of the key takeaways from the meeting. The Centre has also advised to increase RT-PCR tests along with the use of RAT for screening in cluster areas.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla suggested urgent review of clinical management along with ramping up of testing and hospital infrastructure and a survey to promptly identify the Covid-19 positive people.

Delhi, which has witnessed a record surge in daily Covid-19 cases, is in need for more beds and medical infrastructure. “UT of Delhi discussed shortage of beds and the present efforts to augment this through central government infrastructure and support through the DRDO's recently operationalised Covid Hospital,” the statement reads.

Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep have pointed out that the surge in Covid-19 cases was due to a large number of inbound travelers. Lakshadweep has witnessed a sudden spike in cases after April 14 primarily due to people who arrived to the mainland to shop for the recent festive occasions. Most Union Territories have imposed movement restrictions, including night curfew.

Chandigarh informed that they are conducting door-to-door counselling for increasing vaccination. Nearly 90 per cent of the Covid-19 patients are in home isolation, who are being monitored by mobile teams.

The Union Territories have been advised by Dr V K Paul to plan three weeks in advance. For Ladakh, he recommended regulation of the incoming labourers and supervised containment. Islands like those is Lakshadweep can be made large containment zones, he suggested.

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