Mask up at Home, States Should Plan Resource Dashboard: Health Min

Officials asked local administrations to plan additional infrastructure, particularly in areas with COVID surge.

2 min read
Delhi: Covid-19 Patient waiting for bed outside Lok nayak jai parkash hospital (LNJP) in new Delhi on Friday April 23, 2021.

The Union Health Ministry, in its briefing on Monday, 26 April, said that it has asked states and districts to plan a dashboard indicating the availability of hospital beds and ensure transparent allocation of resources.

The officials also asked state and district administrations to plan additional healthcare infrastructure, particularly in areas reporting a big surge in cases.

Niti Aayog's member, Dr V K Paul, urged people not to venture out unnecessarily and wear masks at home too. Speaking at a Union Health Ministry press conference Paul said, "Please wear a mask, do not go out unnecessarily. Stay with your family. Even within the family wear masks."

The officials also said, “Rational use of oxygen, appropriate prescription for drugs under investigational therapy like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, etc are critical to combat the resource-crunch during the pandemic.”

The ministry reiterated its guidelines for COVID-19:

  • Physical distancing
  • Wearing of masks at all times outside the house, and preferably inside the house too
  • Hand hygiene
  • Close monitoring of home isolation cases
  • Isolate yourself and start taking precautions even while waiting for the test results
  • Monitor oxygen saturation level constantly and consult a doctor if it goes below 94, but no need to immediately get hospitalised

The health ministry officials said that there are eight states in India with over one lakh active cases including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu.

Referring to studies, Joint Secretary Union Health Ministry, Luv Aggarwal said, "By not following physical distancing one infected person could infect 406 people in 30 days. Reducing physical exposure by 50 percent, one person can only infect 15 people in 30 days. Reducing the physical exposure by 75 percent, one infected person can only infect 2.5 people in 30 days."

He said that people must understand the importance of following COVID-appropriate behaviour in controlling and managing the infection. He pointed out that a mask coupled with physical distancing can lower the transmission risk. "Both a COVID infected person and uninfected person not wearing a mask or maintaining physical distance have 90 percent risk of virus transmission. There is a 30 percent risk of transmission when the infected person is not wearing a mask and the infected person is wearing a mask. There is a medium risk (five percent) of transmission when an infected person is wearing a mask and uninfected is not wearing," Aggarwal said.

He stated: "Transmission risk becomes low (1.5 percent) when both the people are wearing masks. There is negligible or low risk when both (infected and uninfected person) are wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance of six feet."

Dr Paul clarified that women can take the COVID vaccine during their menstrual cycle. "Yes, women can and should take the vaccine during the menstrual cycle. There is no reason to postpone the vaccination," he said.

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said that unnecessary panic among people is creating a rush at hospitals, shortage of drugs, and oxygen. "Unnecessary panic is causing rush outside hospitals, shortage of essential drugs, and oxygen. Misuse of oxygen is a major factor. If the saturation is 94 percent or above, then there's no need to worry," Guleria added.

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