No Restriction on Movement of People Even in Areas Under Lockdown, Centre Directs States

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As Covid-19 continues to take the country by storm in its second wave and several restrictions in place to control the situation, union home ministry has written to all states and union territories that there should be no curbs on inter-state, inter-district movement of people and goods even in areas under complete lockdown. This comes at a time when country is witnessing a mammoth outbreak of coronavirus, reporting over 2 lakh cases for second day on Friday.

With states faced with crippling healthcare and shortage of resources, the home secretary has also instructed to transport medical grade oxygen supply across country to help fight the grave pandemic situation in the country. The Centre assured worst-affected states, like Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, of help in the form of oxyegn cylinders and ventilators. Chhattisgarh has reported nearly 6.2% increase in weekly new coronavirus cases based on 7 day moving average, while Uttar Pradesh has reported a growth rate of 19.25% in daily new cases.

As per a statement released by Ministry of Home Affairs, after a review meeting with officials of the two states, Union Health Secretary said that the demand for oxygen cylinders and additional ventilators will be met immediately.

“The Union Government has mapped the manufacturing sources of Oxygen with the 12 states reporting the highest number of daily new cases. States have been advised to increase dedicated Covid-19 beds and use the available buildings in the Hospital campus, including AIIMS, for creation of additional COVID19 dedicated wards,” MHA statement said.

The home ministry also directed the sates to make use of the hospitals of union ministries and PSUs for ramping up Covid care facilities. Both Raipur and Lucknow have reported scarcity of beds for coronavirus patients. The Centre has asked them to augment their covid workforce and hire retired doctors/paramedics under the NHM funds, deploy volunteers from NSS, NYK and women Self Help Groups (SHGs).

The Centre reiterated the 5-fold strategy of Test, Track, Treat, COVID Appropriate Behaviour and Vaccination to bring the situation under control. Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are the only three state withmore than one lakh active Cases. In the last two weeks, Chhatisgarh has seen an increase of almost 131% in weekly new cases. Twenty two districts in Chhattisgarh have crossed their reported highest cases in the last 30 days; Raipur, Durg, Rajnandgaon and Bilaspur are the most affected districts. In comparison to cases between March 17 and 23, and April 7 and 13, RT-PCR tests have decreased to 28% (from 34%), while the Antigen tests have increased to 62% (from 53%).

In Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi and Prayagraj are the worst affected districts. In contrast to March 17 to 23 and April 7 to 13, RT-PCR tests have decreased to 46% (from 48%), while Antigen tests have increased to 53% (from 51%).

The centre directed the states to increase the number of isolation beds, oxygen beds, ventilators/ICU beds, ambulance fleet as per requirement; plan for adequate oxygen supply; and focus on mortality reduction by early identification of positive cases and adherence to national treatment protocol.

States were told to, “mandatorily subject those who have tested negative in Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) to RT-PCR test. Ramped up effective and timely tracing, containment and surveillance activities to curb the chain of transmission, and strict implementation of containment measures,” MHA statement said.

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