New Delhi: A day after India confirmed its first case of new COVID variant Omicron, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has on Friday released new measures for the states and Union Territories (UTs). The health ministry asked states and UTs to be "extra vigilant" in enforcing public health measures to contain its spread.
"Current evidence, which is still evolving, suggests increased transmissibility of Variant of Concern Omicron," Secretary, Health, Rajesh Bhushan said.
Union Health Ministry's measures to States and UTs
- Details of all international passengers including those coming from "At-Risk" countries arriving in India are available in "Air Suvidha" portal of Ministry of Civil Aviation. All State Surveillance Officers (SSOs) have been asked to access the portal every day to know in advance the details of passengers arriving in their State/UT
- States and UTs have been asked to follow up arriving passengers through the surveillance mechanism and tested as per the extant guidelines of international travel.
- "Enhanced Testing is the only strategy for detection of the virus" and therefore, as per ICMR and Ministry of Health guidelines, states and UTs have been asked to conduct focused and strategic testing, especially in and around new clusters of infection
- Contact tracing of all positive patients will remain the key to stopping the spread. All contacts of a positive person must be traced, quarantined and tested within 72 hours
- States and UTs have been asked to send samples of all those who test positive for Whole Genome Sequencing expeditiously, and only to the laboratories tagged to the State/UT in the NSACOG network
- Health departments of state and UTs have been asked to ensure that the remaining first and second dose gaps
in COVID-19 vaccination are addressed and filled up through proactive measures
- COVID-19 appropriate behavior must be emphasised and enforced, especially in view of the higher transmissibility of 'Omicron". All efforts should be made to regulate crowds, enforce masking and social distancing at all times
- States and UTs have been asked to actively follow up the number of active cases, rate of testing and positivity district wise in all districts. Any uptick in cases and positivity must be immediately taken cognizance of and addressed through public health measures
States and UTs have been asked to again review the capacity enhancement of the health systems in terms of beds, oxygen, ventilators, isolation and quarantine facility, drugs, manpower and take proactive measures utilizing the ECRP-I & ECRP-II financial resources provided by the Central government to ensure that they are fully prepared for any eventuality.