Harsh Vardhan for ramped up testing in Delhi as cases surge

Harsh Vardhan for ramped up testing in Delhi as cases surge

Agency News

New Delhi, Jun 4 : Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Thursday pressed the need to ramp up testing in the National Capital in view of the sharp spike in the number of Covid-19 cases and fatalities.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, who chaired a high-level meeting through video conferencing (VC) to review the preparedness for prevention and control of Covid-19, here extended the Centre's full support to Delhi for the strengthening of health infrastructure and augmentation of testing facilities, during the VC after a detailed discussion with the DMs, Commissioners and Mayors of Delhi.

While some issues such as the density of population in many containment zones did pose a serious challenge to the collective efforts of the administration, it was important to pool in resources and experiences for a convergent action, he advised. "This is a collective battle, and we are here to support Delhi in its efforts," he stated as he chaired the meeting through video conferencing to review the preparedness for prevention and control of Covid-19, here. He was joined by MoS Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Delhi's Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain.

As all districts of the UT of Delhi were now infected by Covid-19, Dr Harsh Vardhan expressed concern saying "the rising cases, high positivity rates and low testing levels in many districts are worrisome." While the average testing/million population in Delhi was 2,018, some districts such as north east (517 tests/million population) and South east (506 tests/million population) lagged far behind. While the UT’s positivity rate of last week was 25.7 per cent, several districts reported more than 38 per cent infection rates, he said.

The high rate of infection among the health care workers was also a serious issue, he pointed out saying "it indicates poor infection prevention control practices in health care settings and needs to be attended to on a priority basis." He underscored the immediate need to scale up testing with health infrastructure enhancements along with better clinical management of the Covid-19 cases for effective case management and reduction of fatality rate. Bed availability was to be rapidly increased in view of the current spike in cases along with avoiding unnecessary delay in admission of cases. "As a significant proportion are on home isolation, all efforts for timely response in terms of testing, triaging and shifting of patients to the required level of dedicated Covid facility is important to avoid mortality," he stated.

The elderly and vulnerable population, such as those with underlying comorbidities, need to be protected and provision of institutional quarantine to vulnerable populations in large clusters where home isolation was not deemed effective needed attention. For early detection of cases, enhanced surveillance of ILI/ SARI cases was stressed. Fever Clinics and Flu corners in all health care settings are set up in all corners of Delhi along with focus on contact tracing and surveillance and use of Aarogya Setu app data for contact tracing promoted. Also, non-Covid essential health care services needed to be resumed.(UNI)