Union health minister Harsh Vardhan held a high-level meeting on Saturday with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim to review the status of COVID-19 in the northeast.
In the meeting, he also reviewed measures being taken for its containment and management of coronavirus in the region.
The meeting was attended by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (HFW), Mizoram health minister R Lalthangliana, Arunachal Pradesh health minister Alo Libang, and Assam MoS for health Piyush Hazarika.
At the outset, Harsh Vardhan appreciated the dedication of all the states in combating COVID-19 in the country.
“It is a huge relief and very encouraging to see green zones in most North-Eastern states,” he said.
“As of date, only Assam and Tripura have active COVID-19 cases; the other states are all in the green zone,” he added.
“Let us focus and work together by converting the orange zones to green zones and maintain the protective status across the States,” the minister added.
He further said that as of Saturday, a total of 59,662 cases have been reported from the country in which 17,847 persons have been cured and 1,981 deaths had occurred.
“In the last 24 hours, 3,320 new confirmed cases have been added and 1307 patients were found cured,” he said.
“The fatality rate is 3.3 per cent and recovery rate is 29.9 per cent,” he added.
He also said that as of Friday, there are 2.41 per cent present active COVID-19 patients in ICU, 0.38 per cent on ventilators and 1.88 per cent on oxygen support.
“The testing capacity has increased in the country and it is 95,000 tests per day with 332 Government laboratories and 121 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 15,25,631 tests have been done so far for COVID-19,” he further added.
During the detailed interaction with the states from the northeast, they highlighted various issues related to testing facilities, health infrastructure, surveillance, contact tracing etc., and also shared their best practices.
The union minister mentioned about the various measures taken by the Centre to combat COVID-19 so far.
The union minister informed that appropriate measures are being taken to combat COVID-19 and with the cohesive efforts of both Centre and states, adequately growing numbers of dedicated COVID hospitals, Isolation & ICU beds and Quarantine centres being identified and developed.
“These provide us with the assurance that the country is well-prepared to face any eventuality due to COVID-19,” he said.
“The centre is also supporting by providing a sufficient number of masks & Personal Protective Equipments, Ventilators etc. to the States/ UTs / Central Institutions,” he further added.
To maintain the positive status of COVID-19 management in the northeast, Harsh Vardhan advised the states to ensure that the returning migrant labourers, students and those returning from abroad should be screened and quarantined as per the Central guidelines and protocols.
He also stated that the guidelines for discharging patients is also revised and needs to be followed by all the states.
“While some states have worked in this direction, others need to focus on more effective surveillance, contact tracing, house to house survey and early diagnosis,” he said.
“Surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI)/ Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) should be intensified in unaffected districts and districts which have not reported cases from last 14 days and more through the IDSP network in collaboration with Medical College Hospitals”, he added.
He urged the states to aggressively pursue the download of Aarogya Setu app to aid contact tracing and surveillance, and for self-assessment by people.
He advised the States to put the information of the earmarked facilities for COVID-19 like the dedicated COVID hospitals, COVID Health Centres and Care Centers in the public domain to help people access the services.
The States were informed that funds have been allocated by DoNER for strengthening of the health infrastructure, and states need to submit their proposals for availing of funds under this fund.