Increase beds, oxygen supply to minimise daily deaths: Centre to states

New Delhi: The Central government on Friday asked states and Union Territories to increase the number of oxygen beds, ventilators and ICU beds, plan for adequate oxygen supply, and strengthen ambulance services to minimise daily fatalities due to coronavirus.

Globally, India is on the fourth position, after the US, Brazil and Mexico in terms of deaths. A total of 469 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 162,927.

The directions were given during a review meeting of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba with Chief Secretaries, DGPs and Health Secretaries of Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Haryana.

Directions were given for stringent enforcement of containment and surveillance measures, ramping up of vaccination and strict enforcement of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

States were asked to examine Case Fatality Rate hospital-wise, devise appropriate strategies and mitigate concerns regarding late admission in hospitals and non-adherence to the National Clinical Management Protocol.

The need to formulate District Action Plans with a focus on mapping of cases, reviewing of ward or block-wise indicators, and round the clock Emergency Operations Centre was stressed upon. States and UTs have also received directions to strictly enforce Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB).

In order to minimise daily fatalities, the states were advised to strengthen public and private healthcare resources. They were specifically asked to increase the number of isolation beds, oxygen beds, ventilators or ICU beds as per requirement.

They have been asked to plan for adequate oxygen supply, strengthen ambulance services and reduce response time and refusal rate with regular monitoring by local administration and ensure adequate number of contractual staff and optimum rostering of duties.

The Cabinet Secretary directed use of the Police Act, the Disaster Management Act and other legal or administrative provisions for imposing penalties on defaulters.

Use of local officials, political, cultural, sports, and religious influencers to disseminate information proper wearing of masks and maintaining physical distance was also stressed.

States and the UTs have been asked to focus on markets, fairs/melas, social and religious congregation that could become ‘super-spreader’ events.

In order to saturate vaccination for priority age groups in districting reporting surge in daily Covid cases, the states and UTs were advised to make a time-bound plan of 100 per cent vaccination of eligible healthcare workers, frontline workers and eligible age groups.

They were asked to coordinate with the Union Health Ministry to ensure adequate vaccine doses, as the Centre stressed that there is no shortage of vaccines with states and UTs and it will continually replenish their requirements.

The Cabinet Secretary exhorted the Chief Secretaries to galvanise the state administration and to use all resources at their disposal to tackle the recent surge of Covid cases.

The need to expand the efforts to departments other than the Health Department, through a “Whole of Government” approach, was re-stressed at the meeting.

It was emphasised that the Centre continues to provide all resources and support to all states and UTs for public health measures and clinical management for fighting Covid.

These states and Union Territories have been reporting very high rise in daily cases and daily mortality because of Covid-19 in the last two weeks. India recorded 81,466 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, highest since October 2020.

Taking note of the present situation due to the continuous deterioration of the Covid scenario over the fortnight, the Cabinet Secretary pointed out that the current COVID case growth rate of 6.8 per cent in March 2021 has surpassed the previous record of 5.5 per cent in June 2020.

The country also reported 5.5 per cent growth rate in daily Covid deaths in this period. While it was reporting around 97,000 daily new Covid cases at the peak of the pandemic in September 2020, the country has now reached the critical figure of 81,000 daily new cases.


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