State governments should report COVID-19 cases transparently without feeling any pressure, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Chairing a high-level meeting to discuss the health crisis in the country, he called for augmentation of healthcare resources in rural areas to focus on door-to-door testing and surveillance.
The prime minister did not say anything about the possibility of a nationwide lockdown, but reiterated that localized containment strategy is essential in bringing down the virus transmission rate.
“Localized containment strategies are the need of the hour, especially for states where test-positivity rate in districts is high,” PM Modi said. “Testing needs to be scaled up further with use of both RT-PCR and Rapid Tests especially in areas with high test positivity rates.”
He emphasized on empowering accredited social health activists (ASHA) and anganwadi workers with all necessary tools. PM Modi said guidelines for home isolation and treatment in rural areas should be made available in easy language along with illustrations. He highlighted that a distribution plan for ensuring oxygen supply in rural areas should be worked out, including through provision of oxygen concentrators. Necessary training should be provided to health workers in the operation of such equipment, and power supply should be ensured for smooth operation of such medical devices.
The prime minister took serious note of some reports about ventilators lying unutilized in storage in some states and ordered an immediate audit of installation and operation of ventilators provided by the central government should be carried out. He also directed refresher training for properly operating ventilators should be provided to healthcare workers if necessary.
Officials also brief PM Modi that testing has been scaled up across the country, from around 50 lakh tests per week in early March to around 1.3 crore tests per week now. They also informed about the gradually decreasing test positivity rate and increasing recovery rate. It was discussed that cases which had gone over four lakh cases per day are now coming down as a result of the collective efforts of the healthcare workers, state governments and central government.