NEW DELHI: As the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country reached 519, the government said that nearly 1.9 lakh people are under strict surveillance to break the chain of transmission.
In a meeting with state chief secretaries, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba asked states to focus their efforts and financial resources on preparing the healthcare infrastructure to deal with this challenge.
“The states should devote adequate resources for creating dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, equipping the medical institutes with personal protection equipment, ventilators, and other essential equipment, etc while also ensuring that essential services and supplies remain open,” he wrote to the states.
States have been asked to mobilize civil machinery under district magistrates to supplement surveillance and strengthen rapid response teams at the field level and to ensure that no suspect and the high-risk person is left during surveillance, a statement by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.
"The Centre is monitoring the progress with respect to states having earmarked hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 cases. So far, Gujarat, Assam, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, MP and Jammu & Kashmir are setting up hospitals dedicated to the management of COVID-19," said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary (health).
In addition, manufacturers have been identified domestically and procurement has been initiated to ensure that there is no shortage of PPEs, N95 masks and other protective equipment needed by doctors to carry out their duties, he added.
The JS added that some agencies like the Defense Research and Development Organisation and BHEL have been approached for producing ventilators.
Dr. R R Gangakhedkar, chief epidemiologist at the Indian Council of Medical Research said that 118 laboratories have now been included in its network of COVID-19 testing with a capacity to test 12,000 samples per day.
In the last five days, on average 1338 samples have been tested per day. Furthermore, 22 private lab chains have registered with ICMR till Tuesday for COVID-19 testing. They have 15,500 collection centers nationwide. Also, out of 15 kit manufacturers, the National Institute of Virology, Pune has approved three PCR based kits and 1 antibody detection kit. One of these is an Indian manufacturer.
The authorities also emphasized that while the use of anti-malaria drug hydroxy-chloroquine for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection has been recommended on an experimental basis for healthcare workers treating suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 or asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed case, people at large should not consume the drug.