The Centre on Thursday reviewed the Covid-19 status and preparedness across states and Union Territories in view of the rising cases of the new Omicron variant in the country. The central government has advised states to consider local curbs or restrictions ahead of upcoming festive season.
States and Union territories (UTs) have been told not to let their guard down and maintain their preparedness for fighting the Covid-19 variant. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired the meeting and highlighted the trajectory of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 across the world.
He urged states to impose local containment measures by district and local administrations if test positivity increases beyond 10%, or occupancy of oxygenated beds increases beyond 40%. Keeping in mind the higher transmissibility of Omicron, it was suggested that states/UTs could undertake containment measures and impose restrictions even before these thresholds were reached. Restriction have to be enforced for a minimum of 14 days.
States have been asked to impose night curfews, regulate large gatherings, notify containment zones and send all samples from Covid positive clusters to INSACOG labs for genome sequencing without delay. For testing, the health ministry officials have suggested conducting daily tests in the right proportion of 60% RT-PCR and 40% RAT, and ramp it up to a 70:30 ratio. As many states have decommissioned Covid facilities, they are required to keep an action plan ready for making these operational along with adequate availability of doctors and ambulance on call, in case there is a rise in Covid cases.
Pockets with low vaccination coverage and those with low Covid exposure may be more vulnerable to the Omicron variant,t so states have been told to ramp up vaccination here. States have also been urged to ensure 100% coverage, such that those left out get their first dose and the second dose is accelerated.