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COVID-19 Surge: Multi-Disciplinary Teams Sent To Affected States

These multi-disciplinary teams comprise three members and are headed by Joint Secretary level officers.

Published
COVID-19
3 min read
These multi-disciplinary teams comprise three members and are headed by Joint Secretary level officers. Image used for representation. 
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The Centre has deputed high level multi-disciplinary teams to nine states and a union territory for “supporting them in public health measures for targeted COVID response and management, and effectively tackling the pandemic”, informed a government press release, on Wednesday, 24 February.

The states and union territory are:

  • Maharashtra
  • Kerala
  • Chattisgarh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Gujarat
  • Punjab
  • Karnataka
  • Tamil Nadu
  • West Bengal
  • Jammu and Kashmir
This development comes amid a sudden rise in COVID-19 cases in different parts of the country, as well as growing concerns over new strains of the virus.   
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CENTRE’S MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMS

According to the press release, these multi-disciplinary teams comprise three members and are headed by Joint Secretary level officers in the Health Ministry.

Further, the press releases says:

  • These teams will work closely with the states/UT administration and ascertain reasons for recent surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
  • They will also coordinate with health authorities of the states/UT for requisite COVID-19 control measures to break the chain of transmission.
  • The states/UT has been advised for regular critical review of the emerging situation with concerned district officials to ensure that gains made so far in COVID management are not lost.

As per the press release, the teams are speaking to the field authorities in a bid to get “a first-hand understanding” on the challenges lying ahead of them and the issues they are dealing with.

CENTRE WRITES TO STATES COMBATTING A SURGE

Further, as per the press-release, the Centre has also written to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir, “which have been witnessing a rise in daily COVID cases, along with decreasing proportion of RT-PCR tests and rise in positivity in some districts.”

Reportedly, the Union Health Secretary has, in the letter said:

1. Exhorted Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and the UT of Jammu and Kashmir to focus on undertaking aggressive measures to break the chain of transmission and to ensure that RT-PCR testing is amplified to flush out cases that have been undetected so far.

2. Advised the states/UT to split RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests appropriately and increase testing in the affected districts, as well as to ensure that all symptomatic negatives of antigen tests are compulsorily tested via RT-PCR tests.

3. Instructed the states/UT to promptly isolate/hospitalise all those who test positive, as well as trace and test their close contacts.

Also, as per the press release:

“The Centre has reminded the states/UTs that any laxity in implementing stringent measures to curb the spread, especially in view of the new strain of virus observed in certain countries, could compound the situation. The Union Health Secretary has separately requested the Chief Secretaries of these 10 states and UT to provide time to these high-level Central teams to debrief the respective Chief Secretaries at the conclusion of their state visits.”   
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BACKGROUND

India on Tuesday, 23 February reported 10,584 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 1,10,16,434. Meanwhile, the death toll increased by 78 to 1,56,463.

Maharashtra has been recording over 6,000 fresh COVID-19 cases for the last few days, with the state touching almost 7,000 cases on Sunday, 21 February.

While a strict seven-day shutdown has been put in place in the Amravati district, night curfew has been imposed in Aurangabad city till 8 March. The government has also warned people to follow COVID-19 protocols or witness another lockdown in the state.

Meanwhile, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Sunday, 21 February, warned healthcare workers who skipped their COVID-19 vaccine shots that they will not be allowed quarantine leave if they get infected at a later stage, and that they will have to bear the cost of their own treatment.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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