170 districts classified as Hotspot districts, 207 as Non-hotspot districts where cases have been reported: Health Ministry
Movement of migrant labourers not possible in lockdown period, current arrangement for food and shelter camps will have to continue till end of lockdown: MHA
The number of COVID-19 positive cases stands at 11,439 as on date, while 1,306 people have recovered. A total of 377 people in the country have died because of the COVID-2019 infection; In the last 24 hours, 1,076 new cases have been reported. Thus, based on the available data as on date, 11.41% patients have recovered and this figure is on the rise. This was informed by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Luv Aggarwal, at the daily media briefing on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on COVID-19, held at National Media Centre, PIB New Delhi today.
Shri Aggarwal informed that all districts of the country have been classified into three categories. 170 districts have been classified as hot spot districts, where i) either the number of cases is high or where ii) rate of growth of COVID-19 cases is high or in other words, the doubling time of cases is low. The number of districts in the second category – districts which are not hot spots but where cases have been reported – is 207. The third category is green zone districts. Stating this, the Joint Secretary informed that besides the hot spots identified by the Centre, states who are fighting the battle at field level may declare additional districts as hot spot districts and take required action accordingly.
The Joint Secretary further informed that the Cabinet Secretary held a video conference today with all Chief Secretaries, DGPs, Health Secretaries, Collectors, SPs, Municipal Commissioners and Chief Medical Officers. Discussions on COVID-19 hot-spots took place and orientation on field level implementation of containment strategy was given. Large outbreak and cluster outbreak containment strategy, delineation of buffer and containment zones, parameter mapping and defining of entry and exit points were also discussed in detail.
On the basis of what has been stated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi yesterday, the Ministry of Health has issued detailed directions to states regarding lockdown. Stating this, the Joint Secretary informed that states have been asked to take required action so that gains made in fighting COVID-19 could be consolidated. Key elements of the plan for management of COVID-19 were outlined by the Joint Secretary.
Movement will not be allowed in containment zones except for those related with essential services.
Special teams will search for new cases and samples will be collected and tested as per sampling criteria. Health facilities in buffer zone will be oriented and people facing SARI and influenza-like symptoms will be tested there.
Special teams working in containment zone will do contact tracing and house-to-house survey. Besides health staff, services of local revenue and corporation staff and volunteers will also be utilized in the special teams which will do contact tracing, survey and surveillance. Cases of fever, cough and breathlessness will be identified in the house-to-house survey and requisite action will be taken as per protocol. Data based on field survey will be analyzed at district level and focus areas of intervention will be decided every day.
Districts have been told to set up dedicated COVID Hospitals, COVID Health Centres and COVID Care Centres. Districts have been asked to focus on clinical management of COVID-19 Positive patients. Early identification and proper clinical management is key.
Districts have been asked to use AIIMS Call Centre and perform patient clinical management as per protocol and strive to see that no COVID-19 case gets converted into fatality.
Districts have been told to promote proper pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions and to orient all staff involved in infection control practices and proactively train relevant staff in clinical management.
Teams need to be formed in advance, without waiting for emergence of cases. Districts where cases are being reported but are not hot spots today also need to work as proactively as hotspot districts.
Even in those districts which are not infected, community engagement needs to be undertaken to upgrade health infrastructure and dedicated COVID Hospitals need to be set up. Monitoring and testing of cases with SARI and Influenza-like symptoms need to be done.
Districts have been told to formulate District-level Crisis Management Plan for COVID-19; one failure can be the reason for the whole nation’s failure. On the other hand, individual successes of districts will lead to the success of the whole nation. Containment plan has to be implemented uniformly in the whole nation and every district.
While answering a media query, the Joint Secretary reiterated that there is no community transmission in the country so far. What has been seen is some local outbreaks and clusters, where cluster and outbreak containment strategies are being adopted, he further said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs representative stated:
MHA has issued Consolidated Revised Guidelines for the Containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the Country. Additional activities have been exempted from Lockdown Measures under the Revised Guidelines, to come into effect from 20th April, 2020. This Order, issued by MHA today, makes relaxations regarding essential services in areas which are not hot spots or containment zones. However, those areas have to ensure that lockdown measures are followed and some prerequisite steps are taken to ensure social distancing.
Consolidated revised guidelines on Lockdown issued by MHA today state that: National COVID Directions are to be followed strictly.
SOPs for social distancing are to be followed in all work places.
Supply chain of essential goods and services and shops selling these goods can continue to function, so that citizens do not face any problem.
There is no restriction on functioning of any component of the health system during lockdown.
Rural industries, which are situated outside municipal boundaries, have been allowed to function, with a focus on food processing industries.
The Centre has asked states and UTs to decentralize procurement and marketing of farm produce to the extent possible.
Work of MNREGA will be allowed to take place during lockdown, provided proper Social Distancing norms are followed. This has been done in order to encourage the rural economy.
Replying to a media query on guidance provided by the Government to migrant workers, the MHA representative stated that due to prohibition of movement of buses, trains and aircraft, it is clear that movement of migrant labourers is not possible till end of the nation-wide lockdown. He said that necessary facilities for migrant workers such as food and shelter camps have been made and states have been allowed to use State Disaster Relief Fund for this purpose. This arrangement will have to continue till the end of lockdown, he further stated.
LIVE tweets by @PIB_India from the media briefing can be found on this thread.