Amid massive spike in coronavirus cases, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said the next three weeks are crucial with respect to the pandemic situation in the country.

“Centre working closely with States and UTs on public health measures to contain Covid-19. Next three weeks crucial! At a meeting held today, UTs advised augmenting hospital infrastructure, ramping up testing, creating containment zones and strictly enforcing COVID appropriate behaviour,” tweeted Dr Harsh Vardhan.

Earlier on Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan along with Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla chaired a high-level meeting to review and discuss the Covid status, the management and response strategy.

The meeting was held via video conferencing and attended by Dr V.K. Paul, Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Dr Balram Bhargava, Secretary, DHR and DG ICMR, the chief secretaries and DGPs of all the Union Territories of India.

The Home Secretary pointed out the steep growth in the number of cases across the country. He advised the UTs to increase RT-PCR testing along with the use of RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) for screening in clusters.

The UTs shared their present efforts for containment and management of the positive cases. Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep pointed to the rise in cases due to a large number of inbound travellers.

The Chandigarh administration informed about the door-to-door counselling for increasing vaccination. 90 per cent of the patients in the UT are in home isolation who are being monitored by mobile teams.

Union Territory of Delhi discussed the shortage of beds and the efforts to augment this through Central government’s infrastructure and support through the DRDO’s newly operationalised Covid Hospital, read the release.

Dr V.K. Paul pointed out the criticality of the next three weeks for Covid response measures. The UT administrators were advised to plan in advance for three weeks.

Meanwhile, India reported 259,170 new Covid-19 infections and 1,761 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday. This has taken the total number of positive cases in the country to 153,21,089.


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