Health minister says Covid-19 surge can be contained if people follow rules


Union minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday held a meeting with health ministers of 11 states and union territories (UTs) where her urged them to request people to follow Covid-19 preventative measures. Harsh Vardhan told the health ministers that if people adhere to Covid-19 preventative measures then the recent surge of the infection can be contained.

Health ministers of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan attended the virtual meeting on Tuesday.

Harsh Vardhan said, “We are still in control of the situation. The strategy that led to decline of cases earlier in February this year, when the nation reported 8,635 cases, if we revisit the strategy then we may be able to contain this current spike in the number of Covid-19 cases. We need to motivate society to follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.”

The Union health minister pointed out that the steep rise that was reported since February came from these 11 states and UTs. Vardhan also said that Chattisgarh remains one of the worst-affected states. He said that Durg and Raipur in Chhattisgarh are badly affected as the positivity rate in these two districts have gone up to 20%. The minister also talked about Haryana’s small towns which he said are badly affected by the latest surge. Harsh Vardhan said that the UK variant contributed to a surge in Covid-19 cases across Punjab, along with events like marriages and local body polls.

He also said that the Centre has sent 50 teams to Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab – the three states where Covid-19 is wreaking havoc. He said that 30 teams will be stationed in Maharashtra, while districts in Punjab and Chhattisgarh which are reporting a surge in cases will be under the supervision of 9 and 11 teams respectively. The teams will focus on implementing the testing, tracking, treating, vaccination and strategies to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol among people. The teams will report to the state and Centre with their recommendations on a daily basis.

“Following gradual reopening of services, people took a casual approach towards following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour which has led to a surge in the number of cases. There were elections held previously, elections are also being held currently, there are Kumbh festivities going on, offices have reopened in several cities and social functions like marriages and other events have been taking place in higher frequency where people have not followed Covid-19 appropriate behaviour,” the health minister said.

The health minister also pointed out that he has personally also seen people not wearing masks while they were outside. He said that there are several ‘social vaccines’ like proper usage of masks and hand sanitisers which are available along with the real vaccines “so taking care of the surge should not pose a major challenge if people can be forced to follow these rules”.

India witnessed the highest surge in daily cases on Monday when the daily caseload crossed 100,000-mark. India currently has 788,233 active cases and the death toll has reached 165,547 with 446 fresh fatalities reported on Tuesday.


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