The Union health ministry has rushed high-level, two-member teams comprising a public health expert and a clinician each, to six states—Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Manipur—in view of the increasing COVID-19 cases being reported from them on a daily basis.
While Kerala had not managed to come out of the woods anytime since the pandemic began last year, the north eastern states and Odisha and Chhattisgarh remained rather untouched by the pandemic wrath during both the waves. Early lockdown of these states as the second wave began helped them contain spread. However, with states slowly opening up, these protected populations will be vulnerable to exposure.
Health experts have urged for calibrated reopening and ramping up vaccination in these states where seropositivity is low.
The Centre has, in the past too, deployed teams in states like Punjab and Maharashtra, when caseloads were rising. These teams interact with the state/UT authorities and get a first-hand understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by them, so that the authorities can then strengthen their ongoing activities and remove bottlenecks.
The teams are led by Dr L Swasticharan (Manipur), Dr Sanjay Sadhukhan (Arunachal Pradesh), Dr R.N. Sinha (Tripura), Dr Ruchi Jain (Kerala), Dr A. Dan (Odisha) and Dr Dibakar Sahu (Chhattisgarh).
"The teams will visit the states immediately and monitor the overall implementation of COVID-19 management, especially in testing, including surveillance and containment operations; COVID appropriate behaviour and its enforcement; availability of hospital beds, sufficient logistics including ambulances, ventilators, medical oxygen etc., and COVID-19 vaccination progress. The teams will monitor the situation and also suggest remedial actions," said a statement from the Union health ministry.