Health Minister reviews action taken to manage Covid-19

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan held a meeting on Wednesday to review actions and preparedness for Covid-19 management.Stressing the importance of social distancing for effective containment of the disease, he asked all the states to be more vigilant and implement all possible containment strategies to break the chain of transmission of the disease in India.He urged the states and Union Territories to ensure strict implementation of the lockdown and availability of essential services and commodities.The Health Minister also stressed on the importance of setting up dedicated hospitals for Covid-19 in the states, as well as the treatment of confirmed cases as per protocol, to ensure contact tracing in all cases and their follow up.He advised the states and UTs to undertake effective community surveillance with specific focus on international travelers to India since last one month.In addition, he also advised them for random verification of home quarantine and action against defaulters.During the interaction through the video conferencing, Harsh Vardhan advised states and UTs to explore and request retired doctors to volunteer for Covid-19 work.In addition, states were advised to ensure training of ambulance drivers, call centre personnel and EMR team members and also to update district-wise ambulance details on the Covid-19 portal.Harsh Vardhan urged them to attend on priority the issue of the health workers’ transportation so that there is no shortage of doctors, nurses and other health staff in medical facilities.He advised them to make common travelling arrangements for doctors, nurses and other health workers.In addition, he took up the matter of effective coordination with the AIIMS portal for Covid-19 patient care and active coordination with IMA and other associations of nurses and paramedics.Citing some recent reports about some landlords and owners evicting doctors and paramedics who were serving the country in combating Covid-19, he strongly advised the States to issue directive to landlords to desist.The Health Minister also stated that the government has announced Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for doctors, paramedic, healthcare workers dealing with coronavirus outbreak.He advised states to provide funds under the National Health Mission to medical colleges for procuring Covid-19 related items.He said that proper directions are in place to ensure the availability of all essential services.In addition, he advised the states to ensure that the pharmacies perform doorstep delivery of drugs as a notification has been issued by the central Government in this regard.Stressing on ensuring mental health of those under quarantine, Harsh Vardhan advised states to start a Helpline for thm.Stating that telemedicine guidelines have been issued and an app is also being launched, he asked the states to identify hub of doctors who will use the app to advise people at home.The meeting was held through video conferencing with Health Ministers, Chief Secretaries of twenty-seven states and UTs and other related officers of the health departments.Senior officers from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) were also present during the video conferencing.The Union Minister also had a telephonic talk with his Kerala counterpart K. K. Shailaja and discussed the status of Covid-19 in the state.–IANSaka/vd

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