The central government has formed 50 high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams and deployed them to 50 districts across Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab given the recent very large numbers of daily new COVID-19 cases. The teams are being rushed to 30 districts of Maharashtra, 11 districts of Chhattisgarh and nine districts of Punjab to assist the state health department and local authorities in COVID-19 surveillance, control and containment measures.
The two-member high-level team consists of a clinician or epidemiologist and a public health expert. The teams will monitor the overall implementation of COVID-19 management, especially in testing, including surveillance and containment operations; COVID appropriate behaviour and its enforcement; availability of hospital beds, sufficient logistics, including ambulances, ventilators, medical oxygen etc; and COVID-19 vaccination progress.
Three senior officers appointed as nodal officers for Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab are Vijoy Kumar Singh, AS&FA, Ministry of Textile, the nodal officer for Punjab; Richa Sharma, additional secretary, environment ministry, nodal officer for Chhattisgarh; and Kunak Kumar, joint secretary, housing and urban affairs, nodal officer for Maharashtra.
They will submit daily reports on five aspects, including testing; contact tracing including surveillance and containment; hospital infrastructure including ICU, ventilator and oxygen beds; enforcement of COVID appropriate behaviour; and COVID vaccination.
India reported 96,517 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, which is a shade lower than the previous day's tally when the number crossed 1 lakh for the first time since September 2020. A total of 445 deaths were also reported across the country. Maharashtra tops the tally with 47,288 new Covid-19 cases, which is around 10,000 less than the previous day's count. Chhattisgarh reported 7,302 new infections, becoming the second most affected state in India.