Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday chaired a meeting with states and union territories (UTs) to review the COVID-19 situation in the country. The meeting came at a time when the nation is facing an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases that had pushed the healthcare infrastructure to its limits. The meeting was attended by chief secretaries and health secretaries of all states and UTs.
Gauba insisted that those eligible for the second dose of COVID-19 should be given priority and that vaccination wastage should be minimised. He expressed concern over the misinformation on the subject of vaccination. The Cabinet Secretary also mentioned that all vaccines that are procured either by the Centre or the state governments are meant for the public in the states and there is no consumption at the central level.
Gauba briefed the attendees about the actions taken by the Centre to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Gauba shared with them the work done by the Task Force and expert groups constituted by the Centre on crucial matters like improvement and augmentation of health infrastructure, research and production of vaccines, the welfare of poor people, vaccination and supply of oxygen, as per a government statement.
"Gauba also appreciated the real-time work done by the states/UTs to augment health infrastructure and informed them about the various advisories issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and other ministries of Government of India on home isolation, care of mild COVID cases, etc," noted the release.
Gauba informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's active engagement with domestic industries for production and supply of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) since September 2020 has helped in resolving various logistics issues of transport of LMO on land, air and water.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan requested the states and UTs to prioritise in terms of testing, intensive action and local containment of the pandemic, strengthening of hospital infrastructure, augmentation of human resources, rational utilisation of oxygen, etc. He informed about the plan to install 1,213 PSA plants within the next three months. Reiterating the judicious use of vaccines, Bhushan stressed upon the need for an awareness campaign on the importance of completion of both doses of vaccination for better immunity.
Amit Khare, Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, emphasised the importance of continuing COVID appropriate behaviour and generating awareness regarding government guidelines.
Khare requested the states to spread further awareness in the peri-urban, rural areas and tribal areas by roping in field-level functionaries like Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, ANMs, and others. He also requested them to involve community leaders and local influencers to communicate the appropriate guidelines to the people, so that there is no panic regarding the initial symptoms of COVID and the care required thereafter.