Pool testing should be encouraged in UP to effectively control COVID-19: Adityanath

Lucknow, Apr 26 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said pool testing should be encouraged in the state to ensure that coronavirus is contained within the hotspots and containment zones.

The chief minister also directed that a dedicated team be formed in every district to constantly monitor medical personnel so as to prevent them from contracting the disease.

At present, pool testing of coronavirus samples is being conducted in Lucknow, Meerut and Etawah.

Pooling of samples involves testing them in batches and when pooled samples test positive, then individual samples are assessed. Pool testing reduces the number of test kits used, and therefore, increases testing capacity.

'For prevention of COVID-19, pool testing should be encouraged, as through pool testing more people can be tested, and thereby COVID-19 could be effectively controlled,' Adityanath said at a meeting of senior UP government officials at his residence here.

He added it was very important for medical personnel to take all precautions while treating patients infected with coronavirus.

'Hence, the COVID-19 hospitals should have an adequate number of PPE kits and N-95 masks. The dedicated COVID-19 teams should be constantly monitored. The doctors, nurses, para-medical and other staff must be saved from infection at every cost,' the chief minister said.

Briefing reporters here, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said, 'On the instructions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, an effort has been made to prevent infection among medical personnel by forming a dedicated team in every district of the state.' Adityanath said the state government has earmarked hospitals for dedicated treatment of COVID-19 patients.

He also said that planning should be done to expand plasma therapy for treatment of COVID-19 patients in the state, as it has given good results.

The chief minister said the people of Uttar Pradesh who are stranded in other states and have completed their quarantine period will be brought back in a phased manner.

Adityanath directed the chief secretary, the principal secretary (medical and health) and the director general of police to seek feedback from nodal officers posted in 19 sensitive districts to effectively implement containment measures in view of the rising number of cases.

'Social distancing must be maintained in the industrial units which have been allowed to operate. Steps should be taken to ensure that guidelines of the Health Department are strictly adhered to in these industrial units. The supply chain is working properly, and it should be ensured that it works like this,' Adityanath said, adding that health check-up of people engaged in home delivery should be done continuously.

Instructions were also issued to regularly sanitise the shelter homes in the state, a statement issued by the UP government said.

The chief minister asked the additional chief secretary (Revenue) to geotag shelter homes and compile details of the people kept there under quarantine. He said they should be linked to the Aarogya Setu app.

'Patrolling should be increased and no permission should be granted till June 30 for holding any public programme. Social media should be monitored,' Adityanath said.

He also stressed on the use of RuPay cards for monetary transactions.

Later briefing reporters here, Awasthi said, 'The chief minister has directed that for effective disposal of bio-medical wastes in hospitals, a team should be formed, which will have an environment engineer, so that all aspects of disposal of medical wastes can be looked into. This has been made mandatory for COVID hospitals and also for other hospitals.' According to the state authorities, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the state stands at 1,843 and 29 fatalities have been recorded so far. PTI NAV IJT