Centre issues Covid-19 advisory ahead of Christmas, New Year celebrations

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations, the Department of Health and Family Welfare has issued guidelines to states in wake of increasing trajectory of Covid-19 cases across the world.

In a letter to states and Union Territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has stressed on Covid-19 appropriate behavior which includes use of mask, keeping hand and respiratory hygiene and adhering to physical distancing.

Besides, he has reiterated the need to put in place requisite public health measures and other arrangements to minimize risk of transmission of the disease by maintaining and strengthening focus on Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

The key points of the advisory are:

  • Ensure effective compliance of the detailed operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy for Covid-19 as shared by the Union Ministry and Family Welfare.
  •         Ensure monitoring and reporting of district-wise Influenza-like illness (ILI) an Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases in all health facilities on a regular basis including in the IHIP portal, for detecting the early rising trend of cases. These cases may also be tested for Covid-19.
  •           Ensure adequate testing in the entire district as per Covid-19 testing guidelines maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and Antigen tests.
  •          Ensure higher samples for whole genome sequencing amongst positive samples of Covid-19 in the community, so as to enable timely detection of new variants, if any, in the country.
  •         To take stock of existing hospital capacities in terms of bed availability, logistic requirements as well as need for re-orientation of healthcare workers in clinical management of Covid-19 to remain prepared for the surge in cases. This may be tested by conducting “dry runs” in hospitals.
  •          Covid-19 vaccination efforts need to be bolstered by creating community awareness. Special focus on increasing the coverage of ‘Precaution dose’ is required by all States/UTs.
  •          In terms of preparedness of upcoming festivities, it s essential that all measures are put in place with relevant stakeholders like event organizers, business owners, market associations, etc; to avoid overcrowding, ensure adequate ventilation especially in indoor settings, wearing of masks in such places where crowds congregate.
  •          Create community awareness to seek their continued support in managing Covid-19 including adherence to Covid appropriate behavior.

As per latest reports, Covid-19 cases across the world have witnessed an upward trajectory. However, India continues to show a sustained decreasing trajectory since the last few months. Although at present, as many as 153 new cases are being reported on an average in the country on daily basis.


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