PM’s Principal Secretary chairs high-level meeting amid COVID rise, stresses on 5-fold strategy

20 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Modi National

Following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, Dr. PK Mishra, the PM's Principal Secretary, convened a high-level meeting on Wednesday to review the situation.

Following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, Dr. PK Mishra, the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, convened a high-level meeting on Wednesday to review the situation.
According to the PMO, the meeting focused on the condition of preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, pharmaceuticals, immunisation campaign in the country, and the essential important steps in response to the current rise in Covid cases.

“Dr PK Mishra stressed that the time tested 5-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence COVID Appropriate Behaviour must continue to be implemented and equally crucial to promote awareness within the community regarding COVID appropriate behaviour and caution citizens against complacency,” the PMO statement read.

During the meeting, a comprehensive presentation was made by Rajesh Bhushan, the Secretary of Health and Family Welfare providing an overview of the global COVID-19 situation.

Bhushan stated that the number of COVID-19 cases in India has been rapidly increasing, with the majority of cases being reported in eight states: Kerala, Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. Furthermore, the unexpected spike in positivity was noted, as was the status of tests being undertaken throughout the country. A thorough examination of active cases within these eight states was presented. It was stated that around 92% of the cases are being treated at home.

The presentation also offered an overview of distinct variants’ genome sequencing since January 2023, as well as the proportion of circulating variants in India. According to the PMO, the status of immunisation was discussed, followed by medicine supply and infrastructural readiness across the country.

A nationwide simulation exercise for the assessment of functioning infrastructure was held per the Prime Minister’s instructions, and the status of the mock drill was reported to participants. Furthermore, the COVID-19 immunisation program’s expenditures and budget allowances for medications and vaccine raw materials were examined.

The Health Secretary further stated that states have already been instructed that they may proceed with the acquisition of required Covid vaccine doses straight from producers without seeking prior authorisation from the Union Ministry of Health.

Private hospitals in the United States may also obtain such vaccines directly from the manufacturer. Once obtained, these vaccinations can be delivered in accordance with the current Covid vaccination guidelines.

Following the lengthy presentation, Dr. PK Mishra emphasised that adequate health infrastructure at the sub-district level is critical for controlling localised surges, which can be assured in conjunction with states. He also urged that advisories for guiding States be evaluated based on developing conditions and updated as needed, as mentioned by the PMO.

Further, the attendees deliberated that it is critical to focus on the identification of emerging hotspots and States should monitor trends of ILI/SARI cases, send sufficient samples for testing of Covid-19, and ramp up of Whole Genome Sequencing.

“The meeting was attended by Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary; Dr Vinod Paul, Member NITI Aayog; TV Somanathan, Finance Secretary; Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, S Aparna, Secretary Pharmaceuticals; Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Civil Aviation; Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, AYUSH; Rajiv Bahl, Secretary DHR and DG ICMR; Rajesh S Gokhale, Secretary Biotechnology and Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Information and Broadcasting,” the PMO added.

He also advised the officials to maintain a strict vigil on the COVID-19 situation and take necessary actions to contain the COVID-19 spread.