Omicron Scare : Ministry Of Health & Family Welfare Issues Advisory For States & UTs

Posted in Featured, National


  • Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent

Agartala, December 08, 2021 : In the context of the new Variant of Concern (VoC) Omicron, Rajesh Bhushan, secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday issued an advisory for all the states and union territories in India.

The advisory informed, “All states are advised to undertake enhanced surveillance of international travelers, continued monitoring of emerging hotspots of new COVID positive cases within the state, contact tracing of positive individuals & follow up for 14 days, sending all positive samples without any delay for genome sequencing to identified INSACOG labs, early identification of cases through adequate testing, review of health infrastructure preparedness (including in rural areas and for pediatric cases), and most importantly to focus on IEC and community sensitization.”

In the wake of the Omicron cases identified in a few states across the country during the past week, regular reviewing is necessary.

“The samples of positive cases from international travelers and their contacts as well as from emerging hotspots are promptly submitted to INSACOG labs for genome sequencing as per the protocol.”

“All Omicron positive cases have to be treated in designated Covid facilities with separate isolation areas earmarked for Omicron positive patients. It has to be ensured that no cross-infection takes place and adequate precautions are taken by healthcare workers in these facilities to prevent transmission among other patients and healthcare workers.”

“Further to contain the spread, it is imperative that States may follow a mission mode and focused approach of quickly tracking the primary and secondary contacts of the positive cases and facilitate testing for them as per the protocol. It is critical to track all contacts of such cases, quarantine them without delay and test them as per the guidelines.”

“Community surveillance should be prioritized and all DSOS must be sensitized to follow up the positive case as well as contacts on daily basis to monitor their clinical status and to keep a check on the symptoms.”

“All international travelers which have arrived in the community need also to be monitored by the district surveillance team and their testing on 8th day need to be ensured if they have come from at-risk countries.”

“States should also undertake enhanced surveillance for detecting unusual events such as new clusters of COVID positive cases, vaccination breakthrough cases, reinfection cases etc. besides prompt investigation of such events by their Rapid Response Teams. They should send all positive samples from these events to designated genome sequencing labs of INSACOG for WGS.”

“States may utilize the “eSanjeevani” telemedicine platform, call centers and plan home visits by special teams formed for the purpose to the contacts under home isolation or quarantine.”

“It is also important to highlight that in the absence of a sufficient number of testing, it is very difficult to determine the true level of infection spread. States are requested to provide and maintain adequate testing in districts, particularly those districts with more than 5% weekly positivity.”

“Further, with the onset of winter and increased pollution in some States, prevalence of ILI/SARI and respiratory distress symptoms should also be closely monitored. x) States must also focus on effective community awareness and follow up on adherence of COVID appropriate behaviour across the state.”

The Secretary of DoH&FW, Rajesh Bhushan expressed that the states’ continued leadership will be able to maintain the momentum and build on the progress made so far to bring the pandemic situation under control.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will continue to provide requisite support to the States and UTs in the ongoing and collective efforts against COVID-19.

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