New Delhi, 15 April 2021: Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla along with Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary chaired a high-level meeting today to review the status of COVID19 in Madhya Pradesh and the public health measures taken for surveillance, containment and management of COVID19 by the health authorities. Iqbal Singh Bains, Chief Secretary, MP, Dr.  Balram Bhargava, DG ICMR, Dr (Prof) Sunil Kumar, DGHS were present along with Principal Secretary (Health), Mission Director (NHM), and State Surveillance Officers of the MP.

Madhya Pradesh has reported nearly 13.4% week-on-week increase in new COVID cases. In last two weeks, the State has seen almost 79% increase in weekly new cases. It was pointed out that 44 districts in Madhya Pradesh have crossed their reported highest cases in the last 30 days. It was pointed out that Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Khandwa are the most affected districts. Granular details like Testing and Case Analysis Weekly trend in analysis in these districts was also discussed. In MP, in contrast to the week 7th-13thApril 2021 in the week of 17th-23rd March 2021, RT-PCR tests have increased to 73% (from 67%) while the Antigen tests has decreased to 25% (from 31%). Issues related to adequate availability of N95 Masks, PPE Kits, HCQ tablets availability, ventilator allocation, delivery and installation along with Oxygen requirement and status of allocation of Concentrator Plants were discussed in detail in the meeting.

The Union Home Secretary highlighted critical bottlenecks in the State’s response to COVID: shortage of beds in general and oxygenated beds in particular and other hospital infrastructure.
The State was asked to curb non-essential movement of large groups of people and social gatherings that could turn into super spreader events with an aim to prevent surge in cases and prevent mortality. The need to carry out the exercise in urban areas was particularly stressed.

The Union Health Secretary urged to actively explore the possibility of also using hospitals belonging to organizations of the Union Government like the Railways, Labour (ESI), SAIL, Coal India etc., to augment the existing hospital infrastructure of the State. He also informed them that all final year MBBS and nursing students along with inters and junior residents can be drafted by following the guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry in this regard. The State health authorities were asked to ensure rational utilisation of oxygen in hospitals in accordance with the Guidelines for Rational Use of Oxygen, which has been shared with all States and UTs. While hospital level and district level committees were asked to look into Oxygen planning and utilization, the utility of virtual control room set up by DPIIT and the Union Health Ministry was also pointed to the State authorities.

After a detailed and comprehensive review of the status of COVID-19 in the state, including the mortality figures, the following5-fold strategy for tackling the recent surge was highlighted and discussed:

  1. On the front of Testing, the State was advised to-
  • Significantly increase testing in all districts with a minimum of 70% RT-PCR tests and use of Rapid Antigen Tests as screening tests in densely populated areas as well as areas where fresh clusters are emerging.
  • Mandatorily subject those who have tested negative in Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) to RT-PCR test.
  1. Tracing, Containment, surveillance to suppress spread
  • Tracing of close contacts at least 25 to 30 such close contacts for each infected person and their isolation to be done in 72 hours.
  • Do subsequent testing and follow up of all close contacts.
  • Delineate Containment Zones as per proper mapping of clusters of cases & their contacts.
  1. The State was advised to follow the protocol of Clinical care, treatment & support, for Home / facility care:
  • Increase the number of isolation beds, oxygen beds, ventilators/ICU beds, ambulance fleet as per requirement.
  • Plan for adequate oxygen supply.
  • Focus on mortality reduction by early identification & complying to treatment protocols

4. On front of COVID safe behaviour, the State was advised to

  • Use local political, cultural, sports, religious influencers to disseminate proper wearing of masks and maintaining physical distance.
  • Use of Police Act, DM Act and other legal/administrative provisions for effective and strict enforcement.

5. Regarding the Vaccination, the State was advised to ensure-

  • Time-bound plan of 100% vaccination of eligible HCWs, FLWs and eligible age groups.